There’s that shadow of the other girl again
Clouding up my eye, I thought I caught
A glimpse of her, standing by the door.

I don’t know what she’s doing, coming back like this,
I thought I left her behind long ago,
Threw her into a mouldering cauldron
Of bitter dank memories, and left her there to linger,
Suffocated by their pungent perfumes.

I had hoped that the spell had burned her up, annihilated,
Screaming and cursing like she had screamed
And cursed at me, because that other girl
Would have led me down to the river, her hand
Cold in my grasp, drowning in my tears.

And now she shows up after all this time
As if she would mock my imitation of surviving
Standing over the stove and cooking, all the time
Forgetting those bitter blustering weeks where
I endured, where my cheeks turned to blisters
Scalded by my tears; but that was how she wanted it,
My mind embattled, embroiled in civil war,
Her the rebel leader, hers the worst type of propaganda
Spreading doubts and anger and all those lousy thoughts.

I have no doubt she thought she was onto to a winner
When she picked me, and she had me believe
Her battle hymn, that I was weak, that I was not worthy,
And I listened, yes I did, I did listen, but ultimately,
I rose above the din, higher, stronger, better,
And when she comes back to check on me,
To see if she can take me in, once more,
I will not let her in, I will leave her, standing
Stupefied by the door, weak no longer,
I will endure, and endure, and she can stay a spectre
A grief from some other time, a monster
That remains lurking, banished from my thoughts.


Rose Staveley-Wadham