~Esther Mitchell, 2015~
I learned very young,
To hide pain behind a smile,
And that disappointment didn’t exist,
Unless it was someone else’s, in me.
While other children knew carefree,
I learned to act like I belonged,
I perfected the comedy of “play,”
To cover over a tragedy in which I was the corpse.
My flesh houses an empty hollow,
That echoes even today with my silent screams.
By the time my peers learned to read,
I was pouring out what was left of my soul on tear-stained pages.
I had already learned sticks and stones merely left bruises,
But words had the power to kill,
It only took one to take away the rest of my life,
Washed it away in a sea of chlorine meant to white-wash the truth,
Into something more palatable for adults to swallow.
See, they don’t want to hear that you’re damaged,
Or that you’re pulled apart from the inside,
A twisted, rotting corpse of yourself.
A child is supposed to be happy,
And if you’re not, they don’t want to know.
They’ll stick their heads so far into the sand they come up in an ocean,
Where they can’t possibly see the evidence of your tears.
I was a prisoner in solitary confinement,
Attempting my own execution, just to escape the monsters in my head,
Hoping to outrun demons that mocked me with my own worthlessness.
When I was still a child, I learned not to wish,
There was no genie in my bottle,
Just a handful of white oblivion, ready to swallow me up if I let it.
It became easy to think of letting it.
It became easy to let it.
And then an angel taught me how to fly.
Taught me clouds were meant to be walked on.
Taught me corpses could be brought back to life, could be beautiful again.
Taught me what it was like to fall.
Taught me what it’s like when the ground swallows you whole,
Takes away angels and sweeps away clouds,
Until there’s nothing left but that hollow, empty grave.
And the blood runs red,
Streams that become rivers,
Until it carries away the pain,
And I wish again – to remove the heart that won’t stop beating.
Because I learned as a child,
Fairy tales are only there to trick you into ignoring the darkness.