His lashes swarm
The sharp words of insults and lies that he lets slip across his lips
Hurling across the room at me
As if he’s doing me a favor by awakening me to the disastrous monster that he says I am
Those webs of tangled up less than half-truths
Threatening my sanity
I always thought
"It will never happen to me"
And, yet it has
The rope of insecurities he’s weaved together around my neck
Any outward pain will never measure up to reflect the inward scarring
The script in my head being replaced by the hate that he spreads
I go pale as the noose tightens
Jumping in the shower as if to wash off his thoughts in my head
Water hisses as it caresses and hides my tears as it offers healing
But it can’t repair the damage done because it’s all the way down to my bones
The water fails me and reminds me that I am his
I am his and at such great cost
I inhale deeply but my lungs feel no relief I cautiously exhale slowly terrified to make a sound
Pondering if he’ll wake by the slightest twitch of the bedsheet?
Wondering if my sanity will return if I make it out in one piece?
Or if I’m too damaged and a lost cause?
And who will come to replace me and be strangled by the same tone?
Willing and fighting myself to gain the courage to leave all the while knowing that this suffocation must end with me
Then I realize those are his fabricated threads too
And I’m out of the door before I turn permanently blue
this body is a shell that i exist within
that I survive in
it’s a vessel i linger on in the mirror a few blinks too many
long enough for my innate despise to turn into loathing
i label it, devalue it, and constantly try to force it to be something it will never be
i shouldn’t and i know that
i’m merely replicating what you did to it first
you shouldn’t have done it either
you even less than me
because it’s mine after all
not yours: then, now, or ever
stop labeling it
stop attaching value to it
stop seeking my worth in it
stop using it
stop abusing it
you have your own
and i am more than capable to crumble
or to glue the pieces of dignity back together on my own
so that i win this fight of survival
Stephanie Stone currently resides in South Korea and is working as an ESL teacher. She is from the USA and was born and raised in North Carolina. Stephanie attended Appalachian State University where she received her bachelor’s degree. She enjoys reading, playing with her golden retriever, listening to music, traveling, and writing poetry. Stephanie is dedicated and has a strong enthusiasm for adventure.