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Reality Is the Definition of Pain
By Abigail Bauman

My eyes are blind 

And I can not see.  

My hands are bound, my mind 


My lips... 



Locked in a moment of passion but not with  


I digress.  

It is pain, I say.  

It is pain, I say.  


And no... 

And no 

And no  

And no  


But my lips do not move.  



They walk and they dance and they entwine with my enemy,  

Though he does not know he is my enemy.  

Is it real? I ask you—is it real  

If you do not see me cry?  

If you do not see me scream?  

If you do not see, or do not want to 


But you still smile and laugh and joke and speak to me  

As though I can speak to you.  

Is it real? I ask you

If I never said no?  

-But I did say no, and you did not hear me. 

On the Bank of the River

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On the bank of the river  

I did sell my soul,  

The Devil came to me,  

A true sight to behold.  


He laid me down  

On a blanket of stone 

And wrapped my body in chains of bone.  


His teeth, they snapped 

At the skin of my neck,  

And the swipe of his tongue  

Stained spit on my throat.  


My body reacts like a lover in thrall 

But my mind evades the allure of his call.  

I know in memory the taste of regret,  

The press of warning packed against my chest.  

I am blind in the night,  

But I see it all.  


Every breath from his lungs,  

Every rush from the fall.  

I can hear his voice  

Like an echo around me.  

There is no one else— 

No sound ‘cept drowning.  


Darkness rises above,  

My salvation? The stars,  

But the Devil blots them out  

With his horns and his scars.  


I can feel him steal the very life in my lungs,  

But only in memory do I know what he’s done. 

His claws lock me down 

And my chains clink and rattle.  


I hear the death toll,  

Like a herding of cattle  

Towards the dark and the din and the mystery of slaughter.  

I wish he could see I was only a daughter  

Of light and love and the God of the Sun  

‘Til his darkness took hold.  

What have I done? 

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