Poetry

Allowance

“The only thing that kept me alive
was my determination.”

The only thing that kept me alive was not through his allowance. It was my steadfast determination to one day outlast the pain. My entire childhood, my body, and my mind were at the will of a madman. He tried to break me, but I held on.

© Sarah Doughty
2017

He couldn’t break me.

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Poetry

Anything Else

“Pieces of me died, little by little, over the years.
Little bits of my innocence at a time.”

Pieces of me died, little by little, over the years. Little bits of my youth here. Shards of my innocence there. All those fragments of my soul were cast out into the world with a bandage that looked like peaches and cream skin. But if you counted all those freckles and scars, you’d see the reflection of all those pieces that died over the years. Would you still think I’m anything other than a walking corpse?

© Sarah Doughty
2017

Those little deaths
do not define me
as I am today.

Poetry

Stay Bright

“Dearest one, this façade doesn’t fool me.
Don’t you see how much we need your light?”

Oh, my dearest one, this façade you’ve built doesn’t fool me. I see the pain in your heart, the cracks in your soul. I see the light dimming in your eyes, while the rest of the world is too blind to see the truth. If I could count your tears and replace every one with something beautiful, would you see how much this world needs your light?

© Sarah Doughty
2017

I always see the light in you.

Poetry

Criticism

“We all see more flaws in ourselves
than we do in others.”

I know, because I do the same thing to myself. My inner critic is always there, whispering in a low voice. It always knows what to say, where to strike where it will hurt the worst. But, instead of giving in, I choose to ignore it whenever possible.

© Sarah Doughty
2017

Don’t be too judgemental of yourself.
Even you deserve a reprieve
every now and again.

Poetry

A Little Longer

“I remember the people that love me.
And that gives me the strength to keep fighting.”

Boulders are shackled to my legs and I’m being dragged to the bottom of an icy ravine. The deep blue water envelops me and I see the moon twinkling through from above. The pressure rises in my head and all I can do is pull against those restraints. Knowing that it’s a futile battle. Knowing I won’t make it to the surface. For a flicker of an instant, I wonder if the world would lament my loss. But then, I remember my son. Each time he smiled at me, gave me a hug, and tried to make me smile. I remember my husband, and all those times he looked into my eyes. Every touch. Every promise. I remember the people that love me. And that gives me the strength to keep fighting. To pull against those shackles until they break. To hold my breath just a little longer so I can swim to the surface and be with them again.

© Sarah Doughty
2017

It doesn’t matter the reason.
All that matters is
that we keep fighting.

Poetry

Blood Moon

“And it was an eerie silence
that clung to me like a second skin.”

That night was alive, yet, at the same time, still, an eerie silence that clung to me like a second skin. Smog hung low in the air, backlit by orange lights glowing into the night, tinging the moon with blood.

© Sarah Doughty
2017

The promise of the night filled me
with a delicious anticipation.

Poetry

Stratosphere II

“I wanted you to be happy.
And you couldn’t have that with me.”

You were my lifeline, and I knew it — but I still tried to push you away. It was a test, in a sense — one meant for both of us. I wasn’t perfect, nor would I ever be, but I wanted you to be happy. And you couldn’t have that with me.

I locked away my pain, and, at the same time, I wanted you to think I was done with us. But you stayed. Even as I saw the pain in your eyes, you still wanted me to say the words out loud.

“Tell me to leave — no,” you began, “tell me why, and I’ll go. But if you want me to stay, I’ll stay. I’ll always stay.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond to those words, but I couldn’t force myself to do it. Maybe I was selfish. Maybe I was too weak to do it. In the end, I said that I wanted you to stay, no matter how weak such a confession made me feel.

But the best part? You lived up to your promise. Over seventeen years later, you’re still here, giving me the same affirmations. I don’t know where I would be if I lied and forced you to leave. Would I have survived? Would you be happier?

I’m the lucky one.

© Sarah Doughty
2017

I will always be
the lucky one.

(If you haven’t already,
read part one here.)

Poetry

Stratosphere I

“Could you tell how much I feared
I would hurt you?”

I remember flying in your stratosphere, riding the high that was you. Your eyes. Everything about you screamed to me, “He’s too good for you,” or, “How could I ever be enough?” But the worst was, “I’ll ruin him.”

Though I wasn’t sure why those thoughts hit me in those perfect moments we shared, but they were there, lurking beneath the surface of my eyes.

Could you see it? Could you tell how much I feared I would hurt you?

© Sarah Doughty
2017

The thought of hurting you
was more than I could bear.

Read part two here.

Poetry

Silhouetted

“How can I remember the good memories,
when there’s always something
that leads to the darkness?”

Some people learn to fly a kite on hot summer days, and imagine they’re the ones flying through the clouds. They remember playing in the sand. Laughing. Feeling the sunshine on their skin, building castles fit for kings and queens while the melody of waves hum in tune like a royal anthem.

But when I think back, I remember the sunburns on my fair skin that left behind disappearing handprints. The sand ending up in places he liked to explore in the dark. I see him. Standing in my doorway. Silhouetted in hell fire with a gleam in his eye. Like I was a treat for a sweet tooth befitting the wicked.

So, tell me, how do I tell my son about the good memories, when there’s always something that leads to the darkness?

© Sarah Doughty
2017

This is still something
I struggle with.