Shit Strangers Say

When a stranger says,
How have you guys been?
I haven’t seen you here in a while.

The heat that rises from within
Is too much for me to stand.
I move away from her,
So she doesn’t get burned.

I am not who she thinks I am
This woman, behind the coffee shop counter
I do not know her,
never seen her before

I’m counting my breaths
For the months that we were apart.

My skin has become my own little hell
My blonde hair is my biggest burden
My stylist says it’s a state of mind
It has become the reminder that
someone else stood where I once stood
And where I am again

Anger, guilt and shame are the
war paint on my face.
I am grateful red is not my color
Although my cheeks would disagree

The sinew of my locked jaw
Reminds me that scar tissue has no nerve endings
That the pain is underneath, and this
Marks the time that has passed.

And when my breath returns,
I look back at her.
And realize she had been with me the whole time.

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