Beautiful

You pay a simple compliment
An endearment intended to tell me of your love
--of your genuine friendship.
But the words catch my breath
Sending an aching spasm through my tightening chest.
You believe I am beautiful.
I see it in your eyes, shining,
Though I am undeserving.
Tears tingle at the base of my lashes
The muscles in my neck contract
Fighting the urge to produce a shake of the head.
And my eyes can’t reach yours.
I am too broken.
I have torn my soul to shreds with my merciless beating.
Criticisms carried far beyond their initial appearance.
You can’t know what I’ve gone through.
You don’t know how far screams carry
Into the heart of a muted child
Now hidden beneath the skin of a woman.
I can’t silence the torment of that phrase
Though a frightened little girl
Longs to believe it.





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