We have a common enemy.
It is faceless. Animal. Instinctual.
It’s been hired, like a hitman,
by those who know it’s power.
It disguises itself,
hiding among our everyday lives.
It can appear as someone you envy
sitting too closely, or smiling too sweetly at your lover.
It can look like the justification
for your crimes and upturned noses.
It can can even look like love.

It’s the reason my sisters at salem were burned,
the reason radicals deem my kind abominations.
Why those seeking shelter from the horrors of their homeland
are gunned down at the border.
Unmatched in its ability
to bring out the dirty, scheming children in us.

The most unnerving part
is knowing that it is inside all of us.
Borne from those we’ve lost,
trusted too much.
Born from every single time we’ve held out our hands
and learned to draw back sooner at each touch.

Not the innocent smile of a stranger,
not your lovers,
not our neighbors.
Not even your anger.
Fear is our enemy.

And fear is so afraid to be known
that it often wears a mask.

Mine hides in a need for control.
Constant schedules,
the comfort of knowing exactly when,
where, how or why.
The spitting image of ouroboros,
my need for control even tries to control itself.
Stemming from the fear
that anything less than a checkmate
will be the end of me.
Forgetting that my autonomy peaked
was when I was dislodged from my armory.
Stripped naked of my false power and splayed,
like a ragdoll to the flames.
Unhinging my grasp on a life and a love
that I could no longer control,
my strength was not the only thing I discovered.

There is no point in holding all of the cards
in a world that makes its own rules.
And I reminded myself
that birds could never soar freely
if we had any say in the wind.


Photo Credit: Jon_Callow_Images Flickr via Compfight cc

Jamie Sawczyszyn

Jamie has been writing all of her life, and went to school for 3 years to study professional writing. Though she just began submitting to publications more recently, she has hosted several slam poetry events for herself and other writers to perform their works of art. Writing is more of an artistic outlet for her, and mainly focuses on raw nonfiction prose and poetry. She is in the works of writing a nonfiction book, which will focus on the psychological impact that her childhood had on her as she grew into an adult, and overcoming her anxiety disorder. She hopes that her book, like most of her works of poetry, will help any of her readers who are struggling with mental illness or going through a rough time in thier lives.

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