Beauty/Pain: A poem

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Caragh McErlean/File

In beauty, there is pain, though you can’t always see

The cost of this face, these hands are not free

Beneath the ballet slippers are broken toes

Behind closed doors are broken bones

Beneath rough leather gloves are blistered palms

Can you hear the broken glass hidden in these psalms

The shards disguised in a silken voice

The idea that we ever had the choice

Because this beauty is bought with blood and pain

This strength hard-earned through thunder and rain

Through broken bones and blistered skin

Through cuts and scars and glass within

I can show you my scars, I will not hide

The violet spots on my insides

The stripes on my hips and bolts on my knees

Even the stars and the moon in the sky agrees.

My hands and feet are rough and beaten

From blisters and calluses and wounds never treated

And my knuckles are always purple and dark in the cold

Scars from striking against what I’ve been told

A woman should be; no I will not stand

To be told to be quiet, to be quaint or bland

I strike leather with bone and my knuckles, they bleed

They crack and they scar and they slowly recede

From softly peach to calloused and bruised

The sign of ferocity and strength well used

For I am a hurricane

I am strength

I am a woman who goes to any length

To fight and scratch and climb and say

There’s pain in beauty, but I’m beautiful anyway.

Contact Olivia Staser at [email protected].

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