Osmium Tetroxide

Heavy lidded eyes
And faded water-based war paint.
The red stripes inexorably blending with
The flushed cheeks.
Her muddied face hid nothing.
And her elbows and knees were
Cut, grazed and scraped.
They would take months to repair.

No one noticed
That she'd painted her arms too…
But not with harmless hair-tipped shafts
Of palest, proudest wood.
Neither with delicate, sensitive finger tips,
Nor cotton.

She sculpted herself from metal
In an attempt to stay strong.
She sculpted herself with metal
So she'd look pretty and belong.

But all she ended up doing
Was breaking, aching
With metal fatigue.
Staining, waning,
With wear and tear and age.
She broke down as metal does:
Slowly and with much resistance.

But she broke down nonetheless.

She was bruised, she was beaten,
Left to die. And she fought,
Bravely, with chivalry and nobility.
Alas, she broke.
She was young, and she battled
Harder, and for longer, than many who
Have seen more winters
Than her.

She wasn't met with a hero's welcome,
And she wasn't given a hero's end.
But she was brave.
She was loyal.
And she was worth so much more.