Bitter

I ask that my sympathy be served
without sugar—
no artificial angels
wings webbed
with sticky pity, halos draped
in caramel condolences
dripping sweet snapshots that melt
in my memory
a fleeting flavor, a sour aftertaste
a tidbit teeming with clingy microbeads
impish orbs who dance
with pungent pixels, a fool’s treat
invited to mock my grief
a candied wreath
embellished with fancied dreams
who poke and pester me, a syrup seeping
through a fresh void in the skull my mother made me
and I ask that my regrets snap
like peanut brittle
let shards of someday pierce my skin
as our tattered time scolds me
let nostalgia strangle me with tangled reality
and I ask that you never defend me
never offer me a blindfold
never wrap me in fabricated empathy
let my thoughts think themselves into extinction
and I ask that you bring dandelion greens
to this candyland who follows me
a parasitic beast whose bite
sprouts lollipops all over my body
tenacious thorns injecting me with sucrose until
my blood is molasses, my bones are taffy
my brain is bubble gum chewed
by my own cavity-covered teeth
and I ask that you let me suffer stoically
leave me be
as I mourn in a pool of pink ribbons
and I’m sinking
sinking until my mother’s voice is muffled
and I’m weeping
weeping until my eyes are sugar glass
and I’m craving
craving cake batter doused in raw bereavement
and I’m—

I’m sorry.
I’m bitter.

Emma McNamara is a student at Hopkinton High School. She has been recognized with a National Gold Medal by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and has also received several Gold Keys. Emma’s self-published novelette A Truth or a Gift? is currently available on Amazon, and she is scheduled to be published in Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. Emma is a triplet and her favorite word is ‘impish.’

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