A closed gate, barred with strawlike beams.
Am I locked in or out?
I no longer know on which side I’m standing
In this land warped beyond recognition.

I’m different than the day I arrived.

Their expectations have stretched me
Their wants pushing and pulling me
Their questions prodding me
Their conditions afflicting me
Stalking me at the edge of who I am.

They disregard my tears, wear me out.

Tired, and with a wary gaze
I observe out there, biding their time

Their faceless force wanting to

Reach me
Get through me
Run me down and trample me.

Smash into me
Burn me
And feast upon my beaten remains.

The howled war cries close in
As I shut my eyes and brace for impact

I bend
I resist
I scream into their faces

To turn back from whence they came

Until I fall to the ground, exhausted

In this slumber, I dream of the moment I will buckle
A crack widening under duress
My hinges tearing away from their supports I splinter into nothingness.

Eyes closed, I’m picked up and carried
Held in a tight embrace.

A distance touch
A silent whisper
An invisible smile.

And I remember

I am