You don’t get to my age
Without learning a thing or two
I’ve learned to trust no one
I’m not about to risk everything
On blind faith, alone.
You think you’ve been burned?
You’re not the only one.
Do you think I haven’t been there?
Because I have, and it didn’t end well.
You think your trust is broken?
You have no idea about my life.
I’m not about to risk it all, again
When your cards are not on the table.
I am an aging woman, in a man’s world
Willing to show you who I am
To a point. The rest is up to you.
I am a partner, not a trophy
An equal, not a mistress
Older, wise, psychic and astute.
I am here now because I trusted
More than once, twice too many.
Don’t you dare tell me I have broken your trust!
When I’m the only one who is here for you.
I am still here, waiting for you
To stop cutting off your nose
Yet you expect me to trust you
Your word, your honour, your faith?
That only goes so far
Actions speak much louder than words ever will.
You have no idea how much I gave
Am willing to give, how much I have
To bring to your table —
Treat you like the King you are
But I don’t have first world choices
And I don’t want third world realities
Everything I do, is to survive
Calculating risks, hedging my bets
I don’t have to be dishonourable to do it.
I can see well enough when I look.
What I saw, was not what I wanted to see.
You, your tells betrayed you.
Nothing more, nothing less.
You are not willing or able to see me
Yet, but you will.
The best five months of your life
Is compared to borderline personalities from your past
And those voices set you up to fail.
Still, you choose to see only what you expect to see in me.
I am not here to play games.
I chose to be with you because it felt good
But you are uncomfortable with good.
You don’t know yourself as well as you think.
You are not me.
I am holistically unique and
Cruelty is not my style.
I don’t kick the dog when he’s down,
I take responsibility for my part
You will not humble yourself enough to bare.
I have not abandoned you
You pushed me away, again.
I see you for what you are
Right here, right now a mirror.
I can roll with you quite content
But I keep her on a leash
(You know exactly what I’m talking about)
Because I sense something isn’t true.
The difference is I feel,
I express and I talk to you about it.
I asked you to meet my darkness,
You left me.
I process my thoughts and feelings raw,
I know no other way
To show you what I’m willing to risk
Of myself for you.
You lie, because you think it protects me,
I call it as I see it.
You will never know who I am
Until you see yourself through my eyes and feel.
If you actually love me
You’d show it when shit gets real
By being kinder, softer
Compassionate and loving.
I don’t need your help
to take out the rubbish.
You discarded me
Because I called bullshit.
Does that mean I was right?
Prove me wrong.
© Copyright 2021, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved