From 23 Gulick Lane

23

I did not watch the reports, since I was a part of them.
There was no need to read the papers because I knew your face,
but that still didn’t stop me from looking.

And at some point, between the 12-year-old  girl sitting on the curb
and the nearly legal teen debating between scholarship offers,
I became a woman.

Was it the humiliation that expedited my growth?
Or maybe it was my fear of the metastasizing tumor
that caused me to mature.

Maybe it was looking in the mirror all bloodied and bruised,
wondering where my weight was going,
pleading with my white blood cells that were giving up on me,
that caused me to change. 

My turmoil taught me that only God can save you,
but first you must want to save yourself. 
My tears taught me that strength comes from 
weakness that is willing to get worked on, only if you let it.

There were times when I thought I was not going to live.
There were times when I didn’t want to.
And although the aftermath of your actions deteriorated my mind
and seared my soul,
I found my way to redemption.

Empty promises, hotels and hospitals beds led me here. 
The homes of loved ones served as a slight cushion for the blows I had to endure.
You destroyed me for over a decade. 
You title yourself my protector;
but even blind eyes can see the truth.

The circumstances may have gotten better,
but only certain aspects have become easier.
There is not one day that goes by where I
neglect to replay the film I call my past. 

I am a woman of the mud.
I have trudged and I have triumphed.
I have failed but always fight back.
Everyday is an uphill battle,
because I have yet to win your war. 

Poet: Stefanie Parrott

 

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