I open up and light scorches my lids
breath seeps in, I blink and am quiet, I don’t cry or scream
I take you in and know my place before knowing my own self, you are so proud
I giggle and dance on command while you shower praises over
top me, I know just what to do to make you love me
I am who you always wanted to be and you devour me whole
I forget myself—my soul is a dingy, unlovable lump, I know
because mommy tells me, and mommy is God
if I disobey fire will spread my whole body and ash me out entirely
I’ll eat only when mommy serves attention, I am starving
I slop up wisps when no one is looking, I’m positive I’ll die soon
mommy will snuff me out and be relieved of the burden
I push down little Hannah, tell her how bad she is, cackle at her weakness
leave her alone in the dark for a very long time—she emaciates
and cries out, I will not look— pretend none of it matters
try to take from others what mommy cannot give, they cling desperately
to their own little scraps and I know then how lost I truly am
I chop off my needs and lock them up with little Hannah
don’t talk or trust, fill my head with music to drown out mommy’s rage
but I cannot quiet her sharp voice tainting my thoughts, splintering my feelings
I make believe I’m loved, put on grand productions in my head
reviews label my scenes tragic, but if I can just smile wide and laugh loud enough
to fool my audience, maybe I can trick myself into believing too, it works
for years, I expect that I can hide forever
I am false


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