Each mask hides another,

Veil on tearstained veil.

Each tattered page of my heart,

Inked and stamped and sealed

In the shadows of my mind.

 

I wrote myself a fantasy,

Bound my heart in steel.

The bleeding aches I turned to scars,

My dreams to sweat and tears.

I formed and chiseled and polished

And pounded out my soul

Until my reflection stared back

Like a heroine of old.

 

I stood before the tarnished mirror

Of all I ought to be.

A little better than my best,

Swifter here,

More caring there.

Let the world crumble at my feet;

My foundation lay within my soul,

Where no hand could touch.

 

The reflection grew dim,

The masks ached and chafed,

And one by one I let them fall

Until only I stood

Unarmed, unarmored,

The heroine who needed nothing else.

 

The aches still throbbed and pulsed

From some deeper, darker place.

Fissures spread across my frame,

Across the mirror.

I grasped and clutched the shards

Of who I thought I was.

But the heroine joined the masks,

In choking, blinding ash.

 

And in the cracking mirror, I saw

Myself.

A trembling and lonely child

Stained with the dust of dreams.

Not quite as much as I’d always thought,

Less than all I’d tried to build.

All my efforts shattered

In glass about my feet.

 

I sank into the ruins of my best

As day drifted into dusk.

No safety, no point, no reason to try,

Only wild, chartless wilderness

And footsteps,

A shadow where my reflection once stood.

Another crouches in the dust;

His tears reflect my own.

“Come.”

He holds out a hand.

“I can be enough.”

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