Cradling My Heart After a Knife Fight.

{via Tumblr}

{Photo via Tumblr}

By Megan Smith

“I can truly see how people could feel lonely

enough to kill themselves,” she tells me.

She looks three days

in dirty bed sheets tired,

there are two scars

on the outskirts of her elbows.

She pulls her skin apart

to avoid saying that she is scared.

She tells me she does not know

what she is worth, if anything,

and says that people

make her feel more alone

than loneliness.

She eats scarcely, cries often,

apologizes unnecessarily,

as if she is embarrassed to be unhappy.

And she is.

I find her broken on the couch,

confused by her own confusion,

worried by her own worrying,

lost because she can no longer find

her maps. She speaks fondly of a time when

her maps traced diligently up her ankles.

Now, she hangs upside down

clawing with her fingertips to feel direction.

But gravity has betrayed her far too often.

She would trust it like a feather

praying for wind when her mind

was deceivingly cement.

She says it is the fault of her mother.

She says her mother gave her band-aids

and kisses and pep-talks,

and never told her that she would one day

need to kiss her own heart.

She was never warned

that one day she would wake up,

bleeding elbows,

swollen eyelids,

and she would have to find it

in her own will to empty her bladder,

to clothe herself,

to look in the mirror.

Her mother never told her

that some days, she may not find it.

She has been told that she

can definitely change the world,

but not that it was her responsibility

to believe it.

She feels suspicious of her own mind.

She cannot decide to live only

to second-guess the cost

of the human condition.

She does not recognize this

on the face of the others.

She is consumed in her own emptiness.

There is a space inside of her lungs

too big to swallow.

She cannot taste the isolation

that slurs from the tongues of strangers.

“How are you today?” feels like,

“Why is your heart leaking from your wrists

onto the bathroom floor?” sounds like,

“Why are you so alone?”

I listen, with the beat of my heart,

growing rampant with sorrow.

I know this demon.

It has weighed me down, immovable,

on far too many mornings.

I know she does not have the heart

to feel beautiful.

I know how it feels

to look at the moon and believe

that it may find your shadow unnecessary.

I know how it feels to know

that nobody knows how it feels.

But I have since seen the sunrise in the mountains.

I have since cradled my heart

through knife fights,

I have since told myself

that I am beautiful and somewhere

amidst the rubble of my insecurities,

somehow I believed myself.

And not one single day passes

that I do not remind myself because

it is no one’s responsibility but my own.

And I know poetry

does not fix everything

for everyone.

I know that words are not burning

the insides of everyone,

but I also know that I can recognize myself

inside of her and I want nothing more

than to see her rip the samurai sword of her ribcage

from her throat and say,

“No. I will not choose

to feel this way forever.”

I want to see her

paint her shadow on the sidewalk every night

until it is permanent in the cement,

until no moon can take it away from her.

Most of all, I

do not want to see her cry,

ashamed, when she is told

that she is beautiful.

I want to see her cry

because she knows that is

one hundred percent

the truth.


MeganSmithMegan Smith is a writer, dancer, lover, mover, shaker, and seeker of adventure. She studies object manipulation and movement patterns as a way to express the things her mind does not yet know. She uses poetry to express the things her body is too shy to admit. You could connect with Megan via her website or on Facebook.


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