Shadow Poetry

Candied Love

Ink drops you never expected to fall from my wrists gathered in the darkness. They waited for me to see, hidden, forgotten beneath crumpled outlines of failed escapes and looping memories, blurred from my then doe-eyed line of sight. I’d dropped breadcrumbs without realizing.

Keeping your eyes closed is never safe.
But sometimes.
Sometimes, it is survival. Beneath the bonds of a disease that smiles like sunshine and holds out freedom like a prize inside its embrace. When all you’ve ever known is the dark, any magpie’s prize shines in comparison.

You kept on, spoon feeding me sugar like I wouldn’t taste the poison, waiting for me to trip up so you could punish me for becoming what you forced me to swallow.
My teeth rotted around the same time darkness spilled out from beneath my bed, a deluge of monsters, a messy massacre of pieces of my soul, clamoring out to reclaim my body when you weren’t looking.

I cried into the fogged-up mirror, pretending the heat from the shower could wash me clean, wipe away the stains while I stared down into the crimson pool I held in the palms of my hands for you.
And I remembered.

The darkness in me smiled back, no drugged confection to smother its flames or scar its skin. It took my hands, lead me into the light, and showed me the bruises on my knees from kneeling to the empty gods of whichever dominion you could treat me with. Sugar on my tongue, never made it go down any easier.

And so, I bled, opening vein after vein, until my own words could find me, alone and hidden behind walls I’d stitched together with candied love. Promises you whispered in the dead of night, clinging in the aftermath, breathy and sweet.

So much venom behind your honey and I’d kept both.

Always dangerous, your game. Handing me recipes you stole from a pale horse, blinding me with the glare of decaying gold and putrid smiles, masquerading as warmth, as home, my hand in yours.

Keeping your eyes closed is never safe.

But sometimes.

Sometimes, it is liberation. Your hollow heart, raised in clouds and ease, you never knew the feel of empty hands on cold floors, breathing so hard your lungs burned, anxiety gripping your ribs so hard you had to fight to breathe, the filth of lies eating through your thrift store clothes.

Your closed eyes, they became my salvation.

Closed to the bloody ink, drops of sand in a timer you were doomed to break in me.

Everything comes to an end.

No whimper, no bang, though those words sing my bones to life.

But it comes with a set of eyes, wide open in the shadows, waiting for you to hunger at my hand. For the sweetness you offered bites both ways.

Perhaps you did offer freedom. Not within you. But through you, on the other side of a bittersweet fire.

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