The Night Queen in Daylight

We try so hard
to individuate,
differentiate,
emancipate.
“Please don’t let me
become like you,”
we say.

And she cuts her hair,
like I did
at twelve and sixteen,
and so many more times
to keep myself alone
in my tower, and to scare
away all the princes.

Sometimes one is simply
more comfortable
with monsters.

She tattoos her arms
with henna pens,
but not in traditional
designs that survived
generations.
She writes words in black
instead: “I’m fine,”
one direction; “Save me”
when flipped upside down:
an ambigram for
a mission statement,

like I made
at twelve and sixteen,
and so many more times,
initiating the war
with myself.

And bleach makes
a striking yellow,
blotting out childhood
little by little
on strands for rays,
impersonating the sun
for a little warmth
with curtains closed
in the long winter
entering our veins.

There is a strange
comfort in sinking.
Darkness surrounding
feels a lot like affection,
love, even.
And when you fall,
it feels like flying
so long as you don’t
look down.

She doesn’t look down.
She’s just falling in love
with sadness when
she is dancing with it.

That’s how it always begins:
the beauty in shadows
is seductive,
with glamour spells
to make a thing sparkle
when it’s really only
blood in the moonlight.

Then one day,
a long time later,
after the war,
weathered and torn,
and hair grown;
After kingdoms rose
and fell before your eyes,
and you tried so hard
not to be a princess
or a damsel in distress,

You become a queen.
You realize you chose this
at twelve and sixteen.
For decades you proved
there really is beauty
in pain and in darkness.

And you’ve learned
that darkness can’t be
beautiful,
or anything at all
without the light.

And so, in your rule, you
always make sure to greet
the day after the night
in their eternal love affair.
You could not compete with
the two chasing each other
because you never could
become one for the other,
and in the end, being a star
wasn not enough.

And though you still
have love for the night,
you allow the daylight in, too.

So when the night is over,
you draw the curtains because
you have learned to fall in love
with the sun.

Copyright © 2018, Sheyorah Aossi

EmbracingDayIntoNightbybootycapo

Art: “Embracing Day Into Night” by bootycapo on Polyvore

Poet’s Note: I wrote this as a poem and a prayer for my soon-to-be step-daughter who is walking a delicate edge, and in whom I see an uncanny amount of myself when I was quite young. This will be a spoken-word piece.

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