He told me i was ugly

so I knew myself beautiful

i wish that applied to only one man in my life

used to think the only way

to ever be whole again

was to set fire to their legacy

burn to charred crust

their tiny, petty cruelties

their thoughts tattooed inside my eyelids

their grimaces of approval

& sharpened malice vowels 

it has taken me far too many 

heartless heartbeats

to realize

i can only erase their fingerprints

inside my pores

if i don’t give them the power

to define me




who am i?

said the face to the mirror

eyes glinting,

shuttered lids



against the hopeful

agony of anticipation.

have i triumphantly

shed the skin of my past,

shucked off

page yellowed demons

until they slink sullenly off

for a smoke break?

the more honest question

would probably be

do i want to know

the answer?

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