they say time withers, but that we would never bend. now, i'm not so sure. friendship once forged in fire is growing weak at the base and arthritic at the joints. love cast in steel is now rusted and stained, dissolving at the mere sight of the sun. i trusted you. i did. i wore my heart on my sleeve and bled my tongue from my mouth just to show you the truth of the matter. i swallowed the guilt until it threatened to chew away at the strings holding me up; until i woke up screaming, my lungs giving out in protest as i writhed between cotton sheets, teeth biting the pillow to suppress the next anguished cry threatening to rip from my throat. i did this, for us, for the friendship, for the future we all saw sitting on magnolia porches.
i was willing to take the thorn into my sides, take the blame upon my shoulders, hold the world between hands just to let this dream come true. but no longer. i am not this savage beast that you see when you look at me; i am not this weathered and dying tree that you see with rotting branches. i am atlas with blood running down by aching back. i am aphrodite with sea foam in her lungs and shame on her fingers. i am apollo and my face has been seared with pride. but i am not hate. i am not cruel. i am not blameless, but i am not to blame.
so watch as the fallen takes their rightful place on the throne. watch as i take the burnt embers of what once was and build up a bloody fortress. i will not glory in the bloodshed, but i will not lift a finger to staunch it. instead, i will lift my chin. i will lift my gaze. you can throw what you want, seethe as you will, hate as you may. i won't waste my time upon a graveyard; i won't shed tears on an empty carcass of past glory. i am carved from the past and i refuse to be molded by your perception. i am a willow tree watching the south burn. i am the aegean sea watching the fall of troy. i have seen greater things fall, i have seen grander things burn. so i will shrug the ashes from my shoulder, i will wipe the salt from my cheeks.
i will mourn, i will bend, i will grieve.
but i will not break. not for you. not today.