My Spine Is A Staircase This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

There are nights where I know I can’t open my mouth,
I can’t speak or scream or breathe too deep
Or the smoke will pour out from between my lips
Cracked and slightly bloody from the force of the heat,
And they’ll know;
They’ll know I’m a forest fire that not even you can stop,
And they’ll know that my heart is being burned at the stake
For daring to believe in things like magic,
And love,
And decent human beings,
Because we all know that witchcraft
Is seen more often than a man
That doesn’t want to take advantage of me
Or someone that won’t flinch away from my scars,
And our history has hands covered in the blood of Salem women
That didn’t know how to fit it with the crowd;
We have always been far too quick
To destroy things that we don’t understand

And there are too many two AMs
Where I can feel my bones creaking in the flames,
My spine groaning like the only staircase out of a burning building
With people still trapped inside,
But everyone has walked all over it for years now
And the wood has grown weak and tired
Of always bringing people down,
And the fire is licking away whatever innocence it has left
In the few places that people haven’t touched yet,
And I’m breaking,
My bones are snapping under the pressure
Of a sunspot growing in my stomach
Like the tumor that made his last breaths into gasoline
And turned his fingers into matches;
I started burning the day his lips turned blue

And if you have ever held a cigarette in your hands
And just watched it burn until there was nothing left
Then you know why I cant get too close to anyone,
Fire spreads far too easily for my presence to be safe,
I’ve seen the damage I can cause more than enough times;
When I was a little girl a butterfly flew in through my window
So I let in crawl into my hand to set it free,
In an instant the flames spread to cover its body
But it still tried to fly out the window anyway,
Its burning wings looked like a shooting star on the way down
And I wished to become a blizzard instead,
Because people can always thaw
But you cant build a person out of their ashes,
And one time my mother ignored all my warnings
And got too close to the inferno that was once her daughter,
I had to watch her rib cage splinter and then crack
And I saw her heart strings snap
Just like a piano in a bonfire;
Both made the most heart breaking sounds,
And sometimes when the lights are out I can still see her
Glowing like the embers of a fire that is slowly burning out
But is still afraid of the dark that’s to come,
And I wonder how much longer her spine will hold up





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