img_0443She was different, under a microscope
Eyes fixated on her every move
Her nakedness in inability to curtail her ever swaying moods
She knew she wasn’t the “norm”
When they chose her each time they needed a target
Unlike the other kids she spent life off by herself
Climbing trees, playing in creeks,
Catching crawdads, building dams
Searching the bottom of the bed for clay rocks
She picked the flattest ones with the smoothest sides
And watched them skip across the pond
Noticing the ripple effect each time a good one slid against the water
She studied the turtles as they sensed danger
Showing themselves only in necessity to make their next move
Shielding themselves and withdrawing within their shell
She chased after the lizards as they caught their sustenance mid-air, all by themselves
They were quick on their feet,
Adapting to change, solo in their mission
She watched the dragonflies as they paid her no mind
Knowing they were majestic and wielding the power of flight,
They had no reason to care who saw them
She went home to build forts and ride her bike, talk to her dolls
Laid in her bed at night covers up to her nose in fright
Of the ghosts who would stop by to say hello
Yes she knew she was odd and not much relatable
To the ones whom she shared with a home
Kids at school laughed, teased and taunted, called her a freak
As she sat still and patient in submission
She never once hesitated to take on a bully for any of them,
Who were turned on and left out for the kill
Her idea of personal space already violated
And no one around to pay attention

She knew she was one crack away from breaking
Dogmatic theology preaching that everyone deserves a second chance
An opportunity that somehow proved to her inapplicable
She grew up and the bullies got much bigger,
The boys now taller and strong
The girls threatened by this one doing all that the boys could
Finding reasons to exclude her, shut her out and spread rumors,
Much like the turtle she’d withdraw
Unlike the other girls who were slender, blue-eyed, straight and tamed gorgeous blonde hair
She was terribly short, athletically built, brown-eyed,
With hopelessly tangled long curls
A sarcastic wit that most found offensive,
She is crass, audacious and opinionated, unfiltered and unmoved by reprimand
Befriended by boys and later by men,
Mothers feeling the need to keep her away from their sons
Her essence was threatening, she wasn’t afraid to stand up
To call out the fouls like David to Goliath
Willing to die to defend
Unsafe to be around for those pliable and searching for candor,
The ones needing a voice like she once needed
She got older and the reality of not belonging set in
All the same baggage remained, inner vows to not let it move her
She loves with a harsh fierceness
Like a sharp sword set ablaze
Stirring at night with all that’s gone wrong
Holding herself mercilessly accountable to the things she has both said and done
She gives as if it costs her nothing
Those who don’t understand her thinks she stays unaffected
Indifferent and cold
Enjoying conflict because her face remains with a grin
An unsuccessful defense mechanism
To not let them get in her head
She pins up her pain and the past
Like hanging laundry from a wire, hidden from no one
To remind herself she’s only human
Studying it like a painting each day
Using it as a muse
She doesn’t believe in “I’m sorries” as they only warrant more misuse
True remorse shows in the actions that follow, is her theory
Crying is just for the weak
Though wishing she could squeeze out a drop
To prove the humility that eats away at her each night
She knows it would never change her branded stereotype
Knowing she is her only dependable fortress
She braces herself like a man to face the storms all around
She wakes up with the belief she will find someone else looking at her in the mirror
A more appealing version of herself
Her sins forgiven, her faults unremembered
That day never comes and she continues to live as a curse
Banished within her own skin
Paying debts, some owed and others just the whipping boy
For the culprits, ill-mannered, degenerates
A battle of epic proportions between what she knows of herself
Versus who the rest have ascribed her to be
Deeply affected, poker face affixed
She contemplates surrendering her stance
It’s easier to relinquish her power
Than to leave the enemies life to chance
She wanders the earth crossing mountains
And treading water through the rivers and seas
Connecting to the soil as if her real home lies somewhere beneath
No one has seemed to figure her out
They can’t understand why she isn’t like them
She’s discontent with facades and small talk, nothing serious
Visceral reactions not allowed, under the make-believe she buries her emotions
Her armor is thick, impenetrable and never disassembled
She must be alert and ready
The fight never comes when she expects it the most, but instead when she shows vulnerability
Her words are never plausible
Though coming from unshakable truth
She’s fatigued from keeping watch for the next death match to begin
Her body exhausted, run down, axe dulled
Armor though sturdy and dependable, dented
She is buoyant, nothing ever seems to sink her
Swallowing water, choking on salt, gasping for air
Composure kept
They throw her a shovel, a useless tool for drowning
Laughing and asking why she can’t dig herself out
Adapting to the circumstance she grows fins and navigates through the rigid ocean
Searching for affinity among the creatures surrounding
Reaching a more promising horizon, feeling hopeful she will survive this
Finding land her feet have not yet touched, she sets off
Hoping to escape the ominous cloud hanging over
At once feeling peace, she begins to build her home
It’s not much later that she hears the battle cry
Coming from just over the hills
She sharpens her axe, secures her depressed armor
And makes way to meet her death
Her rest will not come until she has bartered with the grave
Continuing to swing and slay the forces that have chosen her
They attempt to secede from the cross they took up
As a ruse to make her think she has won
As she departs beaming victorious
A swift blow straight to the back
Her axe again swinging, they’re cut off one by one
She digs a hole and lays in it to be nearer to the destruction
To be confined with her mistakes
Hell bent on not forgetting
Why this catastrophe had to be done
Alone and begrudging to another hollow victory
Left permanently staining her hands
She departs to return to the only home that she knows
With both feet firmly planted,
Falling into the arms of no one
She throws down her weapons
Sheds her armor to the ground for the first time
Feeling stark as a newborn
She knows it’s only a matter of time
Before more come to find her
Taking up that torch passed down by the martyrs gone before them
That cry so loud and piercing
And the flame that unfailingly follows it
She’s tired yet thankful
For the seclusion she’s been placed in
Her wounds bone deep,
Filled with gravel, dirt and dust
Infected and aching, fatigued
The woman, no longer a child
Lays permanently in waiting
This battle weary warrior she has become