They taught her this hope,

weaving it into her very beginnings,

stitched and sewn through the true stories of those surrounding and before.

This hope,

now older,

carried in daylight,

sheltered between ever expanding ribs,

settles easily among the day’s distractions.

This hope,

now colder,

held at midnight,

clutched between empty sheets and breaking heartbeats,


crushes the resilience of that daylit cage…

tearing at the truth of her beginnings.

Chelsey Whitlow 



Were they simply pieces ripped from her, forever missing, forever haunting?

Or are they purposed pieces broken off, so her skin can finally settle around her just right?

Are they wounds she is always meant to carry, always raw and always open?

Or are they story scars declaring redemption?

Are they the tells that scream her greatest weakness, keeping her cast in constant shadow?

Or are they the tales recalling her strength to stand, again and again and again, like the rising morning sun?

These are her beautiful remains…
Chelsey Whitlow 


Please don’t call me beautiful.

You throw it too casually, unconcerned with where it lands, if it gets you what you want.

Please don’t say you’re thinking of me tonight, or in the morning, or any time at all.

Your thoughts are fickle and dripping with fantasy.

Please don’t look at me like I matter more.

Your mask is cracked and I no longer care to pretend.

Please don’t call be baby.

Your arms were never meant to be my home.

Please don’t claim to miss me,

You were always one step from walking away.

Please don’t speak my name again….

You are tearing me from the Light.


I had a taste of the more I’ve been missing…

Of the more I’ve been on guard against,

Of the more I’ve craved in solitude,

Of the more that only whispered in dreams before.


One taste…

And I am undone.

One taste…

And I am lost at sea….

One taste….

And I’m fighting my way back to shore.

Chelsey Whitlow