The Girl with a Pen

Don’t talk
just listen to her cries
watch her eyes turn bloodshot and dry

she doesn’t understand that word
You can’t teach her.
though she speaks it
to her, it’s just another
jumble of letters
vowels and consonants
strung together
forming sounds as foreign as

Who does she turn to?
Who can she turn to?
certainly not You.
You don’t speak her language

she locks her secrets with pens on paper
blood on pavement relieved
she is not completely empty

but that word you tell her
over and over
haunts her dreams
yet she repeats it
haunts her nightmares

Dictionaries and thesaurus
fail her
or has she failed herself?
set herself up to never understand
condemned herself to wear this brand, this stigma

she can’t blame others forever
tells herself
over and over
can’t live this life a lie
yet she refuses to die.

Doesn’t know how to use her voice
to wash her slate
to build bridges when she needs a ladder.
dug her hole too deep
already planted the seed
already spread her self-destructive rumors

is it too late?
when nowhere is safe
not under blankets
nor in dreams
she’s alone.

alone again with thoughts corrosive
city lights bear witness as she writes
of her unforgiving mind
to the shadows frozen in time
to all the ghosts past and present
she sees through the dark
all she does not know
she tells herself
for the thousandth time
there is still room to grow.


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