false [combined version]

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’re 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
mommy is God, if I disobey fire will spread my whole body
ash me out entirely—I’ll eat only when mommy serves attention
I am starving
I slop up wisps when no one’s 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
I 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 think that I can hide forever
I am false
where have I gone? I miss my breath deep, rhythmic, pulsing in my chest
filling me up with the season—I think my eyes burst
I cannot get the gunk out of their holes
can you see me God?
are you that movement at my side? is it you gnawing, slathering my bits
across your jowl? I can feel heat scorching, spreading over my whole body
I’m sorry, I’m so very, very sorry but my
parts are mute
I abandoned us here to rot a long time ago sacrificed my own self
for a light, wisp of attention, a puny hope of a fix
for my disparate soul, an emaciated love
how can I possibly let that go?
how can I possibly not?


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