The Death of a Thousand Cuts
By Michelle Garren Flye
She’s whole, pure, beautiful
When she steps out into the world,
And the first cut is kind of pitiful—
She barely notes the blood pearl.
The second comes out of nowhere—
Perhaps from the company she keeps?
She bandages it up with great care,
But no one hears when she weeps.
Third, fourth and fifth go deeper—
Needing more than a few stitches.
She covers them with a sweater
And cries until her breath hitches.
By the twentieth, she’s beyond care.
The blood splotches the floor in drips.
She armors herself to prepare
For the constant onslaught of whips.
She’ll go on and on and on
Into a world full of attacks.
She feels like an automaton,
Just surviving all the whacks.
A hundred, two hundred, more
And the armor barely dulls
The sting of each strike before
Silence falls in the rarest of lulls.
She wonders what each blow takes.
Is it blood or faith that she bleeds?
God, religion, nation—each forsakes
And their call she no longer heeds.
It’s cruel what life does to you—
How it parades and poses and struts.
In the end it’ll take you, it’s true,
By the death of a thousand cuts.