Little White Lies I started carrying around these little white lies; they live here on my face. Like when I ask you a question and your answer seems ingenuine but I smile at you softly, anyway. Or when I fix you a plate and you give me your thanks, and I kiss the side of your head. While inside I scold the woman who does as she’s told, though I lay with her each night in bed. Or when you don’t come home for three nights in a row and I lay awake cracking my knuckles and toes. I picture her holding your body, unclothed. The thought leaves me paranoid, and I look through your phone. I shouldn’t have done that, now I can’t sleep. My body is filled with anxiety and heat. I cry in my pillow, “Why can’t I just leave? I don’t understand why he would do this to me.” Then comes morning, you rest your head in my lap and you hold my hand to your cheek. And I say nothing. The room is silent; another little white lie to carry with me. Rinse and repeat. ** Death By Heartbreak You feel like if the moon and the rain fell in love. You walk like God and laugh like my father. But my belly is bloated with language too heavy to carry, and the tallies on my wrists mark the heartbreaks I survived. So I clench the bathroom sink, trying to hold myself steady, trying to hold the world still. Will I die of a heartbreak? Sometimes I feel like I could. Or maybe I’ll just hold myself up to this bathroom sink for a bit longer. Just until I can catch my breath. ** The Blame Game I’m six years old and my dad stops calling. It’s February 13th, I cry to my mommy, “But it’s my birthday. He always calls on my birthday.” Her eyes are apologetic, mine are bloodshot. I blame her. I blame myself. I’m nine years old and I’m having my first kiss. He’s my neighbor and my best friend and it was only a peck but I swear I’m in love. I go to school the next day and hear halls full of echoes; “Ew. Slut.” I realize they are following me. It’s me. I’m fourteen years old and I’m letting a boy convince me that he cares about me. It doesn’t take much. He makes me feel wanted for a moment and I offer him something that I think may make him stay. I lose my virginity to him and we never speak again. I blame my father. I blame myself. I’m seventeen years old and I have a reputation. Boys talk to me like they’re picturing me naked. Teachers talk to me like I’m stupid. I know what they all think and I let them. It’s my own fault. I’m nineteen years old and there’s a stranger between my thighs. He was supposed to be my boyfriend but I don’t know this man. He says he loves me but spits in my face and steals something I can never get back. I stay silent for four years and I still blame myself. I’m twenty five years old and my heart races when a man walks behind me. I don’t believe anything my boyfriend says. I smile politely when men call me “sexy.” I’m terrified, I’m mortified, and I blame myself. ** Flowers on The Walls Today I taped flowers to the walls to remind me to smile, remind me to be gentle, remind me to focus on the beauty in this. I know how beautiful it can all be. So I touch you with tenderness in hopes that you’ll do the same. Tape flowers to your walls and add my name to your stories. There’s poetry inside me and it’s waiting for you. ** Dewy Grass Lay me down in the dewy grass, let the bugs crawl in my hair, let my lungs be filled with fresh air. Inhale. Exhale. Rinse. Repeat. I close my eyes and see sun, one with my body and I think of my daughters. Unborn. They deserve more. Let them live on a green grown earth, let them bury their hands in the dirt. Protect them from disease, famine, poverty, heartache, greed. Protect them from what we are becoming. Or exist as already. It’s too late for me. But let them lay their heads down in the dewy grass. ** Mother’s In The Mirror, Again It comes over me, quickly. The heat in my face, the racing in my chest, the shakes in my hands. I can feel the words crawling out of my throat. I’m afraid to say them but I cannot stop myself. They projectile out of me, ripping the corners of my mouth. I see the look on your face and I know that I am ugly. I look in the mirror and think of my mother; the memory of her distorted face, wrinkled with the anger she could never get a hold of. Her tongue was sharp like mine can be. I feel her madness in my veins. How do I let go of it? Am I to slice my body open and bleed it all out?
Kira Rice-Christianson is a self-published author and poet, currently residing in Chicago. She focuses on themes of femininity, relationships and growth. Both of her books, “A Lengthy List of Lovers,” and “Love Language” can be found on Amazon. She also frequently posts poetry and prose to her personal blog. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
This is her first feature on The Fictional Café.
I do hope the author and the protagonist are not one in the same, for she sounds wounded and you, by virtue of your well displayed sensitivity, must know also the richness of happy, just as only truly good actors can bring evil to a stage. By expressing and describing openly the well of depressions we are able to climb out of it. I thank you for those others who struggle, that they may see they are not alone, and that they too can climb out of the darkness.
(The Blame Game loses a few characters at the end of each line.)
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