Broken Glass 

photo by Nichole Q Perreault

She strings the lights
more gold than white
A moment of peace, warmth
Broken by angry words
With teeth that eat at her soul

She sings, dances to anything but
Christmas music
The artificial pine needles scraping
Her hands ’til they bleed
She welcomes this pain
That hurts less on the outside

She rests awash in the glow of
One thousand one hundred lights
And thinks she understands why people
Cut, carve, slice into their skin
To let the inside out

She types on her phone
Silent, edgeless words
Knowing she won’t let him have that
She won’t pick up the shards he spits
Won’t let them become the broken glass that maims her

She did it once
Before
A long time ago
She still has the scar
He can’t have another

She breathes
In the late-night solitude
Breathes
One breath at a time
Beneath a thousand lights
And one silver star

© Nichole Q Perreault 

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Crucify Me

Memories have been pecking away at me...creeping in, as real as yesterday. Not the good memories, but the bad – the foolish, humiliating memories, the devastating moments that I long to erase.

Without warning, they rush in like a tidal wave, mocking me, insulting me, threatening to dash me against the rocks, because there’s nowhere to run, no way to escape myself.

Suddenly, I hear my own sharp-edged voice:

I hate myself.

Sometimes it’s merely a thought. Other times, a whisper. Today, I spit the words out loud, just to make it stop. To halt the rising wave, to make the accusing voices Just. Shut. Up. To stop the harassment, the shame, the regret, the pain.

I hate myself. A truth that rises from the churning depths of me, like a bubble of air in thick molten lava…ugly, menacing, then empty…a hollow, shameful ache.

I hate myself. I hold fast to those three little words, with white knuckles and nails digging into flesh. 

I used to think it strange how others cut their flesh with razors or glass, but I…I cut with an invisible blade, carving, slicing, maiming this heart already thick with scars.

And I love the hating, the punishing.

Because if I can’t escape myself, I will hate myself. Consume myself. Destroy myself.

I will crucify myself.

I will take myself to the cross and begin the hammering, the nailing, the piercing. Dismissing His sacrifice and mercy, I try, in my own strength, to crush, to crucify, to bleed out my blood in payment for my failures and yet in this, too, I fail. This one arm is always free – and I can’t complete the job.

The crucified cannot be the crucifier.

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