Friday Poetry: "Sticks and Stones"

Today was much better—I spent most of the day at the library, checking emails and catching up on blog reading, and I'm mostly caught with everything.

This week's Friday Poetry was written quite early in the week, inspired by a book I read in which one of the main characters is a victim of domestic abuse. The book itself wasn't terribly great— there were some big character issues that I found difficult to overlook—but I thought the author explored such a difficult topic as this one with grace and delicacy.

It's a hard line to walk, I believe, especially as someone who hasn't had any experience with something like this, but I thought it might be interesting to try to put some of the complicated emotions that abuse survivors tend to feel into words. I hope you enjoy the poem. Happy Friday! x

Sticks and Stones

I used to take on the world with the eyes of a
warrior and the claws of a lion, but that was before
you came along in storms of red and gold and
bruises disguised as kisses. you drained me of
the fight I promised myself I’d never give up, but
even now I can’t remember what it was like when
I didn’t need to lean on your ghost. I’m still trying
to learn how not to need you.

but please, darling, remind me how it feels to build
forests out of splinters and kingdoms out of dust. on
days like this I can’t help but wonder why you broke
me and then left when you were halfway to reforming
my shattered fragments into something that almost
resembled a masterpiece.

I find a cradle in parentheses, a pillow in commas,
and if I met you in a dream then the aftermath is
a perfect nightmare. you cut me so deeply that you
are the only thing I can remember how to bleed, but
I’m still trying to immortalise the scars you left behind
in these limping syllables. I’m too tired to replace
your name with pronouns anymore.

I sometimes pretend I’m a phoenix, but then
I remember I’m nothing more than a girl who
scratches words into mountains and dreams
of a heaven engulfed in fire and ash. people ask me
why I write about the same things over and over,
and maybe I don’t have an answer. maybe all
these twisted poems are as close as I can come
what I really want to say to you: that I miss you,
that I hate you, that I love you, that the sky is not
the sky without you. it’s so easy to bleed now that
I’ve forgotten what I’ve been fighting for.

tragedies sing in my veins. love songs whistle in my
bones, but when I try to carve them into the lines
in my skin it seems my vocabulary has been stripped
of everything but your name and the words I’m sorry.
I’m lonely. I’m afraid. I’m afraid. I’m afraid.