The Joke 

You laugh.  

It’s so funny. 

Yes, it’s hysterical 

the way you mock me, 

with monsters so deep down

in my lungs, I’m gagging up 

a mixture of my own laughter. 

But I’m laughing at you

and I can’t stop. 

I can’t stop imagining your face 

when my monsters come out 

to tell you, there’s nothing funny here, 

except the joke of you and me. 

I laugh. 

It’s so funny 

the way it never was. 

But that’s all you had 

for me and against me. 

Hold it over me like a nail 

in the coffin of my heart 

shaped broken, 

like my dreams and yours 

that never broke 

because we didn’t make any. 

You’re so afraid of the fact 

that I’m smarter than you, 

shovel the dirt from your hands 

on top of me, seal the burial 

with drops of blood and spit. 

Remember how I never was 

your equal, but an equation 

you never solved, 

cancel me out

let the sides weigh the same, 

but they never will. 

I was always more. 

I am more. 

  -Stephanie Bennett-Henry 

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