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The Spent Woman

Wistless men frighten me — ambitious, powerful men with the world at their fingertips and my chest in their palms. They leave me to ache with longing, and my skin turns a sick, green pallor. These men and their dreams cut me so deeply that I am left frequently bleeding fear onto my fresh, white linen.

That I wore for you.

To be as sanctimonious as I should.

I have wrapped the stained cloth gingerly around my shoulders hoping to shield you from their stoutly–unwomanly–aggressive existence. Lest you find me out, begin to understand how ill-equipped I really am to be the woman I should. The woman that stands by you, understands you, bolsters your dreams with her fists, her shoulders, her back.

I am little more than cracked bones shifting beneath leathery, scratched skin. This body is not what it should be — it is straight-forward and a little dull, in my opinion. It is weathered, littered with pockmarks and itchy, inflamed eczema. Childhood has beaten my muscles into reflexive flinching, little spasms of my truth fighting to spill from inside. To be, finally, once and for all, seen.

But I do not allow that. Perfect women do not spill over or run dry. I am not the river you will drown in. I could never entice you with curves or smooth, rounded edges. Mine are brutally sharp, tearing long gashes in the fabric I keep shrouded over my person. I lose sight of them twice a day and barge into a loved one with such intensity it usually ends in a bloodbath of swallowed feelings and double-edged words.

Women like me do not stand by men like you — who intend to stamp their golden feet on hilltops and mountain summits. I will watch you drift from me, fall into the open arms of a better woman, the spent woman.

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