Like prison sentences, end to end,
sixty millennia, all in all.
Here’s what I cannot understand –
how come I haven’t learned at all?
How come I’m as defenseless now
as I had been in that first life?
I ‘m buying words wholesale, although
I know they’re often lies.
You said “I want it all”, and I
had opened up and let you in,
although I knew you wouldn’t like
what you would find beneath my skin.
Although I knew I didn’t have
that indescribable, fragile, raw
ability to shift and bend
that men value in their females so.
I had believed – I did believe! –
have mercy, Gods, I have no words
to scream my pain – that you had lifted
the curse from me. That I was yours.
I gave it all! I gave it all!
Hysterical, stupid and naïve,
a child out of control.
A child drowning in grief.
I begged and prayed. I prayed and begged.
I have held back for so long!
My pride, my power, my intellect –
all of it – simply to belong.
You offered me such precious things
as hope, as love, a chance to live.
I swear, I gave you everything,
but this, which isn’t mine to give.
The thing that shapes my every step.
That I will not do. Can’t be done.
My loved ones, that I must protect.
The word I’ve given to my mom.
She is my mother. In this life,
this last lifecycle, she alone
gave herself so I would survive.
She saved my life. I cannot turn
on her, for anyone at all.
Not me. Not you. It is a debt
of decency etched in my soul.
A sacrifice I won’t forget.
And it is not about trust.
Or closed mindedness. Or spite.
It can’t be either her – or us.
It cannot be. It isn’t right.
Your vision, your passion, your dream
those things mean so much to me,
but i don’t know by what means
I can express it. How to be
simply supportive, simply there,
without wanting to learn more.
How to show that I care
without trying to explore
your thoughts and plans, without trying
to offer you skills I possess
in service to your cause. I’m tired.
I’m lost. I’m cornered. I’m depressed.
I didn’t mean or want to fail or
let you down. I want to be
your sword. But I cannot betray
those I love. Those who raised me.
It doesn’t matter that I’m shattered
into small shards, that all I touch
turns into ash. Here is what matters:
I failed you. You asked too much.
I know I promised, I know I vowed
that I would back you in this fight.
And I don’t know what to say now.
And I cannot tell wrong from right…

About Julie Deshtor

Julie Deshtor grew up in the Soviet Union during the turbulent 90's, and moved to the United States shortly after the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991. A bilingual author, Julie writes both fiction and poetry, as well as translating poetry and lyrics. She brings her rich cultural and life experienced to her fiction, exploring the psychological struggles of her characters with compassion and insight, as they navigate the murky waters of the modern society. Julie currently resides in Utah, USA. Her interests include art, world literature, zoology, anthropology and urban subculture
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