Self-pity

We never learned from where it hailed.
Maybe she was born with it,
but in the beginning it was a flimsy thing, and she
was a child, too ignorant of life and vocabulary
to do other than witlessly pet it,
but as she grew
she felt the need to give it credence,
as if ill-knitted martyrdom,
its split yarn spilling dropped stitches,
was her divine calling.

She should have killed it,
but she liked its perversity;
she nourished it with twisted truths and bitterly disguised lies
until it grew fat on her thin skin,
controlling every thought and whim,
isolating her from insiders and kin.

Intricately built, repeatedly tweaked
that it may scruffily encompass each new circumstance,
its exclusivity defended with counterfeit logic,
her jealously protected self-pity still reigns supreme,
while she is defeated by a need
to cling to
the familiar.

If her sweet voice calls you,
don’t fall into her simpering net.
Should she become a lover or a friend,
she’ll sift through her cellar for a well-worn falsehood
that fits her victim self-portrait,
adding your name to a fresh layer of blame,
then she’ll whisper cruel fantasies
of insults and belittlement into the ears
of the dwindling few who will listen and briefly beieve,
until all that remains is tumbleweed,
blowing along her abandoned street.

You may think her predictable defeat
would leave me the winner,
but I came for peace, not to compete,
and what is her ultimate purpose,
if not to lose?

©Jane Paterson Basil

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