this cage

stacked accusations
tempered by blind apathy
who hurts now; later

repents with spun words.
quietly justified, he
builds his blind fortress.

girl wings flutter, strain;
he forges two more cage bars.
torn feathers, wild eyes.

silence sometimes stops
but go is waiting, waiting.
then she flies too far.

hurt masked by kindness
swiftly sours to black demands;
damp down clings softly.

let her go, I scream
feathers rustle, two eyes open
“i can mend this cage”

whispered words through bars
this cage will not be mended;
girl wings realigned.

she climbs aerial
cage and sour scent fades on high
and healing begins.

© Emily Bragg 2013

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Let Me Hurt You Not Again

I know a girl whose thoughts masquerade as gilded golden trophies, hiding doubt and angry rabble crossing ‘cross her splintered mind. I don’t know her mind at all, and yet I know so much; the rest I fabricate. I don’t know when I hurt her and when I do I can’t retract the words because I don’t know which of them sting, hidden barbs so clear to all the rest.

I love this girl.

And after all these years she remains a clear-cut enigma, my projections falsifying her reality. I forget she has weaknesses, so much do I aspire to what she does, what she says. I don’t understand how someone so incredible can see such warped reflections of themselves, so much so that I, I pose a threat. Lash back, I think. Hurt me like I hurt you. I wouldn’t know what to expect.

Dear, refuse my words. Craft yourself a vessel of barb-proof determinism and push off, sail away. I want your words and mind spread before me, but if I can’t carve a space for myself without cutting too deep when my knife slips sideways, push me out.

I never thought I was the stronger one. You were always the brighter light, I only tagged along. And to hear that all along you saw me as brighter? My mind reels. I don’t understand. I can’t be who I am without you, because you define me. Every shared tryst, every joke, every silent moment we’ve built together is the foundation of who I am. You have given me so much strength, and now I only hope you’ll let me try to give some back.

But if I ever become an enemy, cut me down.

© Emily Bragg 2013