twist around bloody roses,
encasing her body like armour;
circles of thorns, like a
decorate her brave flesh
in a failed bid to protect her.
If you think she is dangerous
you’ve misread the signs.
Witness her numbing pain;
feel the white space that surrounds her.
I could say I’ve known her to break
but she was broken long ago,
and the cracks were never erased.
I want to find a way to make her whole;
dissipate the gaps in her soul.
I don’t know if this is love
or compassion or both,
but her sudden laughter is like a gift,
like the sunrise,
like a child’s kiss, like a hug from my sister,
giving me a lift;
making me feel worthwhile,
but when her eyes fade to the distance
I am bereft, knowing she has slipped
into bleak self-loathing.
I tell her she is a success
and she can think I’m crazy
as long as she trusts what I say.
It’s true she hasn’t slayed all her demons,
but they have sharp teeth and strong defences.
Bravely, day by tiring day
she fights to keep them at bay,
and to me
she’s an Amazon.
I would like her to know
that although we only meet in passing,
I am her friend.
©Jane Paterson Basil