we stood under the umbrellas of punishment
the weight that crushed our spines
pushed and pulled like we had no self that bruised and tore
misguided and then blamed for someone else’s mistakes
we simply learned to treat ourselves unkind
but umbrellas are fragile things
one sweeping gust and the fabric rips from its frame, the metal bends
and it becomes a useless shelter from the lashing rain
as the puddle of tears collected around our feet
all we did is tremble with defeat
from the cold in their shouts and abuse
but we wiped our tears aside
and pulled the canopy over its broken rib
mending it for a moment to march out of the flood
a temporary relief
sometimes it’s enough for redemption and pride

© simon whittle – from lovers’ tiff: a ballad

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