Smothered

You accept the bruises
because it’s better you than them.
You don’t fight back with threats
because it’s better you than them.
You smile with a clenched jaw and fists
because they have to see you smile.
And you don’t want to walk away
because it’s all about them, not you.

But look yourself head-on
and see what it’s done to you.
They’re not better off like this
because it’s about them and you.
They hear your sobs when the blows die
and know that you’re dying too.
How can you protect them
when there’s nothing left of you?

© LaYinka Sanni, November 2014