A Loss of Empathy

You asked me to be your


So I took that leap to

stop a blade, catch a bullet, save a life

And I tried to defy gravity

for a friend

who just need a little help.

But unbeknownst to me, as I

tried my best to be what you needed,

You crept up behind and:




at my wings of white and

stained them red and though I tried to fly again, I just

fell to where you had been.


“Help me,” you begged, with pleading eyes and pale lips

Lifting your hands to the great above

Yet when I grabbed ahold and tried to lift,

you planted your feet firmer and laughed at my attempt.

I played tug-of-war with the Devil, your old friend

while you refused to let go of his fiery hands.


You described it like drowning,

a sea of doubts and regrets and pain

and some days you just couldn’t breathe.

I waded out to throw you a rope,

and you yanked me closer

Waiting until I could barely stay afloat

Before turning and

diving deeper

Into a sea you’d made with your own tears

Leaving me to fight an ocean I’d never seen before.


Nothing I did was ever enough, and you made it clear

that I was failing

(Or perhaps, that you were succeeding)

You pushed me away and expected that I grovel for your acceptance –

Just wanted to be wanted, and needed to be needed

And I fell for your stupid tricks and guilt trips

God, what a fool.


We could’ve done it together

The fighting spirit you refused to acknowledge

was stronger than you ever allowed

We could’ve turn back time’s cruel hands and erased the damage the world had done

But you refused, and after the world left you alone,

you picked up the knife and continued the work it had abandoned.

I could’ve born the buffets and the blows

of cruel bullies or abusive parents or heartbreaking boys

But not the strikes you dealt yourself, that you carved

on your own heart from the inside out.


Sadness was your best friend, and when you tried to replace her

she clung to you harder and you didn’t resist

Knowing from the beginning what I refused to accept:

I was fighting an


battle, for

You never wanted anyone to save your life

You just needed someone to die trying.



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