Pale Imitations

Our glory is your glory

Our success is your success

Our brilliance is your brilliance.

Well, only if it makes you shine.

You are the only diamond that matters.

It is all thanks to you,

You say, raising your glass

Crowing, shouting,

Talking above our voices

Silencing us until 

All they can hear is you.

How easily you claim us:

Your children.

You claim our maturity

As though it wasn’t your fault

That we grew up too fast

Having to play the parents

While you played the child

With nowhere to turn to

Except the knives on my skin

His cigarettes on the stairs

Until he and I learned

To turn to one another

Once you stopped pitting us against each other

In your tangled web of lies.

You claim our looks

Saying we inherited them from you

We are beautiful to you

Only when it is convenient

In other words:

When others compliment us

And you want to claim that, too.

What’s ours is yours.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall;

You are the fairest of them all.

The other times –

We are ugly, unpresentable

Why can’t I go to the gym? You implore.

Why can’t he eat less? You ask.

Take a good look at yourselves – You say

Pushing your twisted mirrors towards us.

We grew to hate our likenesses.

Why aren’t we more like you?

We used to wonder that too.

It took me a decade to learn

That I don’t have to be you to be beautiful

Because I know now that’s all you see:

Beauty and perfection exist only in your image

And everyone else is just a pale reflection.

Did you think we would forget

How you would buy the best clothes for yourself

To give us the scraps?

It took me a decade,

And I am still not okay.

He is ten years younger than I,

How do you think he feels?

You claim our talents

As though you understand

How much we drowned in our passions

To get away from you.

I escaped in my writings

And he in his games

Winning awards and competitions

So we could not hear your voice

Our hands tight on our ears,

While from the other side of the glass,

Your vitriol seeped through the cracks

Poisoning our dreams and ambitions

Because we would never be worthy

Of anything.

Of ourselves.

Of you.

You claim all the credit

But none of the devastation

You ignore

The fragments of glass from

When we hated ourselves so much

We finally broke the mirrors

Shards in our hands

Screaming when

We wanted to hurt

We wanted to rend

We wanted to die.

We were right there in front of you

But you didn’t see the blood

You didn’t smell the smoke

You didn’t hear our worlds crashing down

Because things are invisible to you

Unless they can make you look good.

We will never be good enough

To earn the love you held hostage

Because even you think you don’t deserve it

But we are done 

With you

Punishing us

To punish yourself 

For being unable to learn what love is.

You claim what you want

And deny everything else about us

That won’t earn you applause

From your friends and admirers.

I drive a nice car

But I am a lesbian

He is a star student

But takes antidepressants

You tear us apart

Taking away things you don’t like

Hiding them away like dirty laundry

Not fit for your carefully curated display

In the gilded frames on your perfect white walls.

We are just props to your ego

Objects, puppets on your stage

Where you are the highlight of the show

Doing your endless solo,

The principal dancer

The lead singer

The most beautiful woman in the world.

We are your extensions

As you chase your ascension

Your glittering high.

How do you like your pedestal?

The fans in your crowd?

Their gazes are reverent

Your adoring supplicants

Are all you could ever ask for

As you dance alone

In your labyrinth of delusions

In your house of mirrors

The realest thing you will ever know.

Kimm, KL.