I just forget it’s you that pulls me down.
I sometimes think it’s me, that I am bad:
A useless mother, weird, a waste of space,
A coward: lazy, pointless, going mad.
I just forget that you wait in the wings
For your first chance to sing about my faults;
You wait with sweaty palms and gritted teeth
To mock me, shamed, before the real adults.
Then, suddenly, you speak your words in flames,
They dash across the blank grief of my mind.
Your drawl, smooth and familiar, shrinks my spine:
And fondled, touched, my memories unwind.
With glee, you fling my laughter to the dogs;
Achievements, skills are torn, mocked and defaced.
You hop and dance and kick salt in old wounds;
You push away the ones I once embraced.
So under this internal, cruel abuse,
I cower, cringing, knocking my scarred knees
And, jeering, spitting, come your playground friends:
A crowd of puffed-up bullies. Angry bees.
The first is Shame, who laughing, climbs my back
And, forceful, presses down my thumping head.
She covers my white eyes with rancid claws
And calls to Guilt, who comes with heavy tread.
Before them, I am naked and alone.
I search blind for a person I once knew.
But, sickly sweet, it’s Suicide who comes:
Seductive, painting death in a new hue.
So sudden is the onslaught, I am lost.
Her subtle voice, that slides beneath my skin
Is leaking poison, spreading, gaining ground.
It wants the very root of Self within.
I stop. That core is fragile but it’s mine.
To build it I’ve worked hard on self-reflection.
It’s taken years of honesty and pain
And anxious re-starts when I lost direction.
I will not give it up, despite your taunts,
Although you’ll hide it from me for a time.
For I have grown within a seed of hope:
And from it springs a ladder I can climb.
You told me I was making their lives worse.
You told me just to leave the life we shared.
But now I’ve found the friend within myself.
We will outgrow you. Soon you will run scared.