The Overlook — NaPoWriMo Day #22 — a poem about being unmoved by slander and emboldened by betrayal
I can't be angry with anyone anymore.
I can dismiss or disregard you if you're cruel,
but nothing you can do to me
is worth the self-poisoning
that occurs when I spill my fury.
Lifetimes of slammed doors
and shuttered windows
fill my memory banks to the brim.
I could have overlooked and laughed.
I could have let you own your wrath.
I abused myself in the name of justice,
and what kind of comeuppance is this?
You don't see my scars,
you aren't moved by my art,
and you don't know or care
that I broke myself
over your mere stare.
Your phrasing was salt on sliced skin,
but I chose to let that feeling in.
I picked that option
from among so many others,
so distraught and disheveled
that I believed it was fate.
It wasn't destiny.
It was self-hate.
Your appraisal never mattered,
or more accurately, it shouldn't have.
I could have chosen to love you regardless.
I could have easily done so safely and from afar.
I could have done it from that seat across the table
and held onto my dignity while you sacrificed yours.
I could have forgiven and forgotten
and walked away clean.
I could have let you go
to let me be.
It's comically disturbing
how many people I could address this to.
How many slights I let dig into my soul,
and for what?
Approval? Love? Acceptance?
I own all three
and I can shower them freely
on myself and others.
I discarded decades
stewing and consuming,
looking for something unconditional
at a radioactive ground zero.
But we're cool now.
The rain has washed it all away.
The pain evaporated in the light of day.
I looked in my smashed mirror
and was stunned by my strength—
a mountain looking back at me—
a calm, still, immovable landform
that weathers the storms
and provides a platform.
You wanted to build yourself up,
bit-by-bit tearing me down.
But you made me better and bolder,
and I may not give you shelter,
but I offer you clemency,
good weather, and a view.
Northern Lights against the deep, dark blue.
Look me over and ponder this:
How did your betrayal create such bliss?
Photo by: Valentino Funghi