A Child, Stolen.
I am sitting among my friends, who are laughing and content.
They call me by my name, but I respond to it half a beat too late.
Because I am not that name- that name belongs to a baby, unmarred by careless hands, and free of the silvery marks a teenager so disconnected placed on herself like a brand.
And now, I cannot in good faith accept that name.
That name is not purposeful hunger pains that come with a twisted satisfaction until sun down.
It is not gorging a stomach with alcohol until I nearly do not wake up, and then filling my lungs with acrid smoke that leaves me choking for air all before the sun is up again.
They call my name each day, and they tell me they love me.
But that love does not belong to me. It belongs to that baby I cry for. That baby I beg for forgiveness from.
Because she is starved like a beaten dog, and I am the imposter- the creature in her grown flesh that hurts her to forget everyone else that has.
But I look to my friends- and they do not know this.
And I smile back, and respond to their calls and pray that the baby with my name and my blood can hear their love, too.