CW: Mental illness
I am a letter. I have been sliced open and arranged with all the others. Important / ignored / anticipated / dreaded / unexpected. Bringing more bad news than good. Sometimes lost / sometimes pinned to the wall / eventually finding the hands of someone (though not necessarily the right one) / eventually discarded and forgotten about / not worthy of being cherished or hidden in the shoebox at the bottom of your wardrobe to be reread on a rainy day.
I am a crucifix. Worn. Believed in by many / feared by some. Adored by the faithful / notorious to the faithless. I can be your constant / I can be your last resort. You’ll either mock me or need me / possibly both. My pained face hangs over your head when you’re lying in bed / and I will be there at the end of the aisle / watching you marry the wrong girl. I might make you uncomfortable / may provide the greatest comfort that you’ve ever known. Or you can / you know / just wear me for show: don’t think about my meaning / I am just an accessory. I have the power to intimidate and the power to forgive and I can look pretty while doing it.
I am a vase. Smashed into pieces / on the floor / hidden from view of the parents / frantically reconstructed by a sibling / taped and glued and bandaged up / imperfect / cracked / fragile / susceptible to further damage / praying that nobody notices / plotting excuses for when somebody does / playing the blame game / holding it together / knowing that it’s only a matter of time before the parents find out and panic / and shout / and throw me out. No longer functional / beautiful / pride of place / just an ugly, broken waste of [ ].
HLR (she/her) is the author of collection History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone) and Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess (Ghost City Press). She lives in north London, where she was born and raised. Twitter: @HLRwriter / www.treacleheart.com