There’s a man without a face
That stalks my peace
That threatens the pace
With which
I creep
Through shadows.

There’s a deep, dark place
Where I retreat
When the spark of life grows dim
And I forget myself.

There’s a place hollow
And desperate to be filled
Within me
But that’s a memory
Isn’t it?

Before when the air felt thin
And the looks
From others
Felt menacing
And safety was not a thing
known to me.

I tried and tried
To be like them
To pretend
Everything was okay
When everything was not.
I lied and with every one
Died a little more inside.

Till my face matched the one
On the man
That stalked me
Like prey
Like he stalked my mother
And her mother too.
This shadow
This demon
This fear.

I drew the line
I decided to rise.
I reclaimed my face
From the pool
Of the displaced
And laughed
No more!

I ran and ran
Until I found
All the parts of me,
That hid.
And I held them close.
But even hugs are not enough.

And fear
For too many years
Was welcome
So I forget
That now is not before
Here is not as clear
As you might think
When as a child
Shadows were more familiar
Than the sun.

-Angel Marie Russell

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