by Erin Mullens
I fling back my elegant neck, sipping flowery rosé
As the jewel encrusted birds flutter about the glamour
Resting precariously on the edge of my shoulder.
Every word is a golden lie, a bit of thread I twist
Hard, to weave together a beautiful tapestry.
If I just look like a rainbow on a green hill
They won’t see the demons fighting in the palm of my hand.
Under the table, my legs shake and my ankle bounces
I am terrified that someone will see through my illusion.
If you knew who I really was, you’d recoil
And shout bloody murder as the gongs sound
To the demise of my already shaky reputation.
If you knew who I really was you’d never look away
Drawn, like watching a train wreck
Gloriously going up in flame and ashes.
If you knew who I really was, you’d lose your love for me
And I’d be left sifting through the beads of my fate
Wondering which one was it that left me fucked up.
Oh, of course, when I am in the middle of company
I can simper and smirk with all the ease and grace
Of a lazy summer wind circling around the terrace.
I am an expert in the art of careful lies tossed out carelessly.
I say, oh dear, don’t you think the weather is so nice?
Instead of the truth, that I love the feel of a thunderstorm
Because the very air starts to swirl with excitement
As danger and uncertainty settles upon the ground.
I say, oh my, I do love this beautiful Greek vase
Instead of the truth, I wish it was more excruciating
More gruesome, with an image of beheaded prisoners
The sound of whips cracking across the fragile pottery
Because life is not a collection of roses in a glass vase
It is a jungle, seductive with beauty, deceptive with dangers.
Sometimes, when I am sitting quietly with you
I get a straining feeling around my neck
Like claws, like hands, like the thread of fate
Strangling me to draw me back into the dark
Into the hidden corners of the bathroom
Where there is nothing but a glorious mirror.
I stare at my reflection, so black and ugly
Like I have just run out of a blazing forest fire.
I don’t look human anymore. I can’t look human
Anymore. I wash it, I powder it, but it remains
The dark shadow surrounding my vampire lips.
Because you are a pink pattern on a cherry blossom
Blooming on a tree imbued with sky like strength
You are a mountain, serenely serenading
The landscape that unfolds peacefully before you.
But I am a river of blood, flowing angrily
I am the earthquake that breaks up the continents
I carry dragons on my head and spears on my lips
I am a mountain of twisted torsos, crying out with torture.
And once you’re gone, I’ll release the snarling snakes.
I’ll dissolve into the fog curling through the sewers
While the air becomes infatuated with the scent of regret
With my bare fingers, I’ll light the wick of a dirty candle
Blowing at the flickering light, my whisper a promise.
Somehow the charade never ever seems to end.
© Erin Mullens
Erin Mullens is currently a high school student in Seoul, South Korea, previously also published in Cathartic Youth Literary magazine.
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