The Most Unkindest Cut Of All

You are a violent glamour,
a dagger
carved from obsidian.

Your style of warpaint
never changes, but
neither does the truth:

I am the one
you have let see you,
face clean,
naked,
unshielded
and soft
and blotched
as a newborn’s cheek.

You are still a cruel thing,
having only grown in meanness
in the interim,

judgmental as a fundamentalist,
unpredictable as wind,
beautiful as moonlight.

You are a one-woman coven
on a witchhunt,
a preemptive code-switch,
a walking, talking
shoot-first-or-get-shot.

How does it feel
to lay your head
upon your pillow
each night
and know
that those
who love you
do so
out of fear
of your capricious
and tempestuous wrath,

to know your every relationship
is built on a flimsy foundation
of shallow respect
earned through intimidation?

You are a schoolyard bully
costumed in grownup.

Let your devotees continue
to lay rubies and switchblades
at your feet;
lipstick and black incense
upon your tear-
and bloodstained altar,

I have no taste for recruitment.

I keep my distance by design.

I know
what lies within
the coiled spring of shield
you hide inside,

the sweet and whimpering
child who can’t believe
she’s good;

deserving of
fearless love.

***

Photo by Timmy Ljung