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the third time


By Esme Bale


worshipping a word you barely know

hands on thighs, and lips on nothing worth mentioning

i participate in the grief for someone i have never met

in the dark, hands grab for a shirt

i’ve realized we’ve overestimated the importance of the heart

with each beat, disappointing me

days don’t matter when i have been held yesterday

compressed even smaller, i can breathe again

let go of my fixation on everything that grows

none of this is familiar, but all of this is something that i’ll forget

strip malls and a road that feels too empty

i feel for your hand, knowing all too well this is how you feel about me

empty red bull cans give you a superficial desire to live

back to a state of numbness

you wonder why i care so much

everything is so much sadder on a street where every house looks the same

a place that was made not to be seen, but occupied

hands feeling the walls and feet touching the sidewalk

beauty is an afterthought when you’re in need of security

eyes closed

to feel me and not think i am pretty

every house looks the same

every girl looks the same

but i hurt in different places

if i can’t protect myself, i’ll hold her

blubbering nonsense, barely able to walk, collapsing into my arms, about to vomit

she is my baby

a little girl and her baby doll

your body in the background is but a background

as i stroke her hair

every night looks the same

every girl looks the same

but i hurt in different places

it was dark when i looked out the window

the trees make me feel like i am eight

i wonder if it’s christmas, expecting a family dinner

the confusing largeness of my grandparents’ house

in a bed that isn’t mine

listening to footsteps that seem too alive

i feel the exact same way

this is a feast for the lonely

i know you so well

and maybe you’ll never know me

you drive endlessly on highways

somewhere further, but it all looks the same

and you don’t know her

the curse of a girl that asks and won’t answer why

i shouldn’t be allowed to wander the streets

i just want to stay behind, you can move ahead on the timeline

we’re already not in the same place

but i can’t even stand that we’re living the same time

to go on strike, ‘till my conditions change

put on the radio, a blare of cries

invading parliament, they ask for systematic change

for someone to love me

we won’t give you your teenage girls, ‘till they are treated right

every word looks the same

every girl looks the same

but i will always hurt in a different place

if you write it down

does it really matter where it goes

if someone, somewhere, reads it

is it a travesty if

none of this is meant for me?

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SINCE 1969