They told me to wait quietly for you.

They told me to pray for you.

They told me to wear my Sunday best so I would be seen by you.

They told me to calm down, to play perfection.

But you never came.

They tell me to hustle away the loneliness.

They tell me I must kiss all the frogs.

They tell me I must show off these goods of mine.

They tell me to lie.

But they don’t see me.

And they don’t know you.


I will wait loudly and softly, washed in laughter and in tears.

And I will hustle after my dreams.

And I will let my hair blow wild and imperfect.

And I will love those around me bigger and wider and deeper, just so I can breathe.

Because somehow,

I think,

You’re in a place,

Somewhere beautifully in between,

Waiting for me,

To stop listening to anyone resembling they.

Because somehow,

I think,

You’ve been waiting for me,

To simply get real.

Chelsey Whitlow



She handed him carefully selected pieces.

Snapshots of corners, shadowed edges, and rare sections of scarless skin.

She tossed him crumbs, morsels, enticements…

lemon drops sweet with an ending most sour.

She played his game.

Lured to the illusion,

Helpless to resist the shadows his flesh had a taste for…

He took the bait.

And here, in the sunlight she waits,

Wise eyes, scar-filled skin, and a heart content to bleed.

Here, in the light, he is terrified.

Because here,

in the light,

her beauty is whole.

Chelsey Whitlow


You see scars,

Lines on wrists,

And you think you know.

You see pills,

Lined up on a bathroom cabinet,

And you think you know.

You see a suit and a smile,

Freshly pressed and sparkling white,

And you think you know.

You see a new dress and a pair of high heels,

Polished perfection with bright red lips,

And you think you know.

The truth is,

Our stories are living dragons,

Setting fire to their keepers.

The truth is…

More obvious than you think.

Chelsey Whitlow