Strawberry Stains

With them

Problems are laced into me

Like a greedy dog’s drugs in a poor girl’s drink

People have taken advantage of me

Violated me

Nobody’s ever seen where the sun don’t shine

But even my eyes hardly ever saw the sun

I’ve never let anyone’s hands wander down past my hips

But that’s because they were too busy up here

Their hands always held my heart and my head

They put themselves on Post-it notes

And stuck them to my face

So every time I look in the mirror

I have to see them first

Three people tell three different stories about me

Three people left their fingerprints

Three people stole bits of my blood vessels when they left

And one more beats at them every day

So my heart can't get what it needs

It's begun to lose any reason to beat

My body can't get oxygen

My brain is tired

Trying to figure out what went wrong

I broke


But you

You help me peel away the reminders

You fill in the holes

You help me build myself back up

My core is no longer made of glass

But made of concrete, made of stone

Falling will no longer shatter me

You tell me I’m strong

And yet the gray colors of hard granite do not dull me

We take the glass of what used to be me

And trace my outlines with the pieces

Fuse it to my surface with lead

Press it up against me so carefully

And set me up in the sunlight so I can shine a bit

I am lined with stained glass

Stained by the hands of others

But dammit, they’ve only made me more beautiful

You helped me become beautiful


With them

Even with my newfound hardened soul

My mirror still calls me a criminal

My reflection tells me I was asking for it

Asking to be fixed

I have too much ugly skin

I have too many scars

So I tried to carve them away

I tried reasoning with myself

Maybe adding more scars will blur away the others

Will blur the lines between skin and canvas

So I painted myself

I justified one sharp brushstroke by adding another

I’d rather be a whore than a broken virgin

Though the only hands that have hurt me are my own

My mirror tells me I’m a murderer

Tells me I’ve killed the girl I used to be

I killed the girl people liked

Because I couldn't like myself


But you

You told me to draw butterflies

You told me to write letters to you

When I wanted to stain myself red

So I wrote words with red ink

And let butterflies dance along my legs

You’ve always been there to remind me

That the girl I used to be has only grown

Been beaten a bit by the world we live in

But still sprouted into something one can call beautiful

You call me beautiful

You’ve covered my mirror with curtains

And let me look through yours

So I could see the stained glass we piece together

You tell me I’m no killer

I’m allowed to love myself

Now your words are forever immortalized

Around my finger in the silver of a promise

“Still you”


With them

I’m constantly told that what I’m doing is wrong

I’m told that I don’t know what I’m feeling

I’m just confused

A woman claims to know better

She claims to know what love feels like

But decides to show her love through insults

Saying she’s teaching me to be better

A woman tells me I’m not in love

But I swear, I am in love

I am so in love with you

We’ve done stupid shit

We argued over the weather once

We pet and play with my cats

Even though you’re allergic to their fur

We went to a New Year’s party together

And spent the whole time

Playing with the stupid dice game on your old cell phone

We are the biggest nerds on the planet

And boy, am I in love with you


But you…

You’re a woman

We’ve been told that we can’t be together

I’ve had my heart ripped into

I’ve had my head twisted sideways

In hopes of unlocking us

I’ve been told it’s a mistake

Well damn, if it is

It’s the best mistake I’ve ever made

You are my favorite sin

When you hold my hand, you hold it gently

When you hug me, you hug me sincerely

When you kiss me, you kiss me sweetly

But you glance around us before you do it outside

And it breaks my heart to see you so nervous


For now

We are strawberry stains

On a black-and-white tablecloth

Trying to blend in with the pattern

People try to bleach away our colors for now

Somehow, we’re still standing

Thank God, we’re still standing


For now

We’ve gotta keep quiet

Because for now we’re just trying to keep our voices

Trying to protect our necks

To preserve our vocal cords

So when we’re finally out

We can yell

We can sing


I’ve got issues

I’ve made some bad decisions

But you

You’re one of the decisions I’ve gotten right


You are the thing I plan to never screw up

This poem is about: 
My family


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