We started as a lie
We started as a lie
and the truth burned us out.
The truth is you used my body
and ignored the soul occupying it,
letting wine and honey flow until
I would give you anything
and believe for a moment
that I wanted it.
The truth is you loved yourself,
and I was a beautiful accessory.
The lie is that you wanted to save me.
Darling, I never needed saving,
I am a hurricane, a wild fire, a supernova
and I am meant to burn out
so that something lovely and strong might grow
from my ashes.
The lie is that you knew me.
Dearest, I might be a princess and
I might be an alien and I might be a crime scene,
but I am still a girl.
Still a girl, and that encompasses
Yes love, the lies were sweet,
and they were beautiful,
and they made me believe, but
I am honest, and I must seek the truth.
I loved you loving me.
And I stopped loving myself.
We were not forever,
we were somewhere between
a waning moon and a natural disaster.
Reality flipped on our retinas
and we shrugged,
and let gravity reverse.
I struggle to find my soul, now.
I let you bury it deep inside,
and I’ve scoured my body top to bottom
but see no sign of it.
So now I begin my search.
There is a piece in the light of the evening star,
another in the steam rising
from the first cup of rich, bitter coffee.
I can detect another in my father’s laugh,
another still in my mother’s tears.
There is one in her hug,
and a dark piece at the bottom of every glass,
a piece you always stowed away,
and I might spend my lifetime finding them again.
Yes, I am shattered
and yes, I am broken.
And yes, you did this.
But it is not the end of me.
Now I seek my soul, and in so doing,
I find the broken bits, the cracked
and burning pieces, that belong to
so many others.
You did not break my heart,
but you hurt my soul.
And when I rebuild it,
I will not see you again.
Like Rome, I am a creature of the sun,
and I am built on ruins.
There are ghosts hiding in my dark spaces,
but as long as I am haunted
I know that I’m alive.
Because my brain might be
a clusterfuck of nuclear waste,
but I do not judge.
So when I get high on a neverending cosine,
and snort the different wavelengths of light
you can see just at the periphery of your vision,
remember that I am the end of winter
and the night dripping down my back
has only made me stronger.
The creatures that hide between the uneven spines
of cracked and crumbling books that
you never bothered to read--
they are what sustain me, and
they know I am not so mad as people think, and
they have collected the broken pieces of my psyche, and
together we will brave hell.
So if I’m paralyzed with fear,
if I’m trembling while you say a prayer,
it might be because this world is almost heaven
and it’s going to burn.
And love, I’ve always wanted to be amazing,
so I will try to stop it,
and I will die,
and it will mean something,
and when you find the remains of my body, of my life,
you will see the great and terrible empire I became.
Bio: Maia Brown-Jackson is an exhausted graduate student at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy. She dreams of saving the world and accepts that for the moment that means exams on corporate finance and American history as told by white men. While struggling not to injure herself in krav maga and sublimating stress through baking, sometimes she writes poetry so she doesn't have to experience actual feelings more often than necessary.
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