she keeps her fa├žade up as long as

possible, only letting it fall when

she's alone and no longer vulnerable

because she's learned that vulnerable

is the worst place in the world

and the hardest to pull out of.

her rope simply isn't long enough

to climb away from there yet so

she waits and hides and hopes

that no one happens upon her

to stare at her like a zoo animal

in the bottomless cage she stays in

yet doesn't know the territory around.

she's made tremulous efforts to feel

her way out blindly to no avail

as you can't walk a minefield without

knowing where the mines are

or dying from the effort.

and there she is, still thinking of herself

as strong when perhaps she's been nothing

but weak all along and everyone

knows it but doesn't tell her because

they assume she knows it, too.

so in the end she grabs her rope and starts the climb

with no idea if she'll succeed, or just

more likely fall back down again

at the beginning with no end in sight.