That was not me,

that hapless, shaking girl

clutching safety to her chest-

Wringing every last drop out of


That was not me,

but it was.

I was golden and young,

brimming with potential

and having nothing to do with it.

No voice, no courage.

Fear was a stake through the heart;

Worse than any death or end.

Eyes stayed glued to the floor,

Mouth remained closed.

“Selfish girl”, I'd think-

laying about while

your mother's body rips itself to shreds,

guts churning and bones collapsing column by brittle column.

Now, listen, you:

you in the bed with the curtains drawn-

You must live. You must try. 

It doesn't suit you to be helpless,

to stand comfortably within the lines

while others step forward on feeble knees.

Be strong. Be inadequate.

Let shame wash over you, christen you

until the burn is less,

until it does not hurt again.

This poem is about: 


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