How I Came To Love Myself

By Kristina Kingsley

the blood stains on the sheets
are like my throbbing heart, the
choked, stabbed, and twisted
anguish in my soul.
i struggle to gasp the air
that reverberates around me,
that stifles the oxygen.
it casts me, the moth,
into pits of self-induced

the abused
and the abuser–
i have been both.

i will rot,
a degraded doll,
left to hate myself
more than he does me
and in my hatred
i will find the comfort,
the consistency,
the care
he never gave.
men come and go
but this will stay
engraved upon my heart
when my legs have closed
and i am alone in my nakedness
in the empty darkness.

the way you look in the mirror, daily
reciting your flaws
repeating the words he’s said
until you believe them yourself–
that is abuse.

i didn't leave
because i stopped loving you.
i left because loving you
made it impossible
to love myself.