by far the cruelest thing
you ever said to me –
and there were
so many candidates
to choose from –
was “I believe in you”.
it seemed to be
so kind at first that
I could not believe it –
too good to be true, not real
my stunned gut said –
and it turned out I was right.
you did believe whole-heartedly
in the version of me
that you wanted to see.

you spent so much
of our time together
trying to destroy my belief
in a whole self, specifically mine,
by trying to carve me
into what you wanted,
painstakingly cutting away
all the extraneous pieces of my
life, my heart, my body and my soul
that didn’t fit the image
you held so dear.

I fought back
with all my might,
having been taught
by my mother’s example
that I’d rather be a
lumpen, misshapen
piece of raw ivory
that is uniquely mine
than a carved masterpiece
of someone else’s creation.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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