It is ingrained in our DNA. Hide pain
so we don’t get eaten, picked out
of the herd, sent to
the bottom of the pack. Primitive instinct
at the core, always evolving.
We don’t want you to know.
We don’t want to see it in your face,
behind your eyes every time
you look at us. We don’t want conversations to stop,
or fall away when our subject is touched.
Eyes averted and cheeks pink, tongues stammering into silence.
We don’t want to be There but by the grace of god go I!
In your hearts and in your minds. But we are.
We are. Compassion and pity are so difficult to tell apart.
We don’t want you to know, to hate
those we love, who cause us pain, and so we hide
what they do from you. We want
them to have a place in your heart when the chaos is over.
If it’s ever over. Sometimes it never is.
Fractals growing ever inward, ever outward.
We hide our pain to spare ourselves, to spare
you the sometimes silent, sometimes shouted fury, to spare
us both pretending condolences don’t infuriate as much as
the blame, the co-dependent tags, the if-only-you-hads.
It all results in the same unavoidable circle.
You can’t do right. You can’t do wrong.
And so we hide behind smiles, behind tears, behind our own
averted eyes and pink cheeks and stammering tongues.
“I’m so sorry,” you say.
“Thank you,” say we.
Today, it may be just right. Tomorrow?
You don’t want to see our truth; trust me on that
You want us to hide; trust me on that.
Trust me. Trust me. Never trust me.
Pain hidden is an ugly thing, hideous, snarling
It’s contradictory and mean, pitiful and powerful.
Without an outlet, it’s deadly. This is mine, all
Mine. Borrow it if you need to, I give it freely, but don’t
worry it away from me. Don’t make me go silent. Don’t force me