From behind the counter of a tin can café

I look up from the dish I've scrubbed a thousand times

Since you crossed my line of vision

As someone else's arm candy

He penetrates my wanting gaze

With every callous word

He speaks to you of love

His arm slung around your shoulder

Like a leash

Your weary eyes have met mine

Too many times to track

But they don't belong to you

You aren't the girl who lived only at night

And gave me her heart

Amidst dim lights and poetry

Where I learned to find the words beneath your words

The life beneath your Stepford smile

And pretty face

Hidden confidence that gave me hope

The empty truths between us

The transformation that took place

As you stepped up to the podium

No different than me

And took on a type of radiance

Photographs can't capture

A beauty that shone beneath your knowledge

That disaster would consume you

The moment you left the comfort of your poetry

For the real world

But continued on, in spite

I should have loved it, while it lasted

…You traded it all

For the prize that robbed you of all you were worth

Even in the moments we breathe the same air

And exchange knowing glances

Every trace of the beauty I used to see

The "caged bird" who gave me hope

Is gone

Beneath the ring he bought you

With the money that was mine

To run with you, to a place without drunken fathers

Endless work to save Mama's delusions

Bruises over your eye

A place that wouldn't break our dreams, or steal our youth

Burdened with wasted ambition

A place for love and poetry

Vanished

When someone stronger came along

To suffocate your dreams

In the name of love

You endure each hit

Each raging outburst

Each subtle reminder of your humanity

Though you'll always hold a piece of my past

If you want nothing more

To me

You are nothing, anymore