Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Through Dirty Windows

She was the girl who had it all and some would say she still does, but it’s hard to see when you’re looking in from the outside, through windows she stopped washing years ago. The dirt settles across the glass like art no one sees the beauty in and every once in a while she spits into the cracks, spills profanities like compliments, and says, “you deserve a canvas as broken as you have always been.” And she smiles the kind of smile that holds the sob inside like a prisoner who volunteered to be in solitary confinement. It’s better that way. Sometimes we sit in a cage that’s unlocked, as we dangle the keys, and think of all the reasons we deserve to be there and all the reasons we don’t deserve to stand up and step out. She can save herself, but she can’t save herself. She knows what it’s like to feel worthless, maybe that key is the proof that she’s not, and that scares the hell out of her. So she sits in the comfort of that cage, on the other side of those dirty windows that sometimes still look like art, and she holds the key like her own heart, knowing as long as it’s in her hands, it’s safe from breaking. She is safe from breaking. She was the girl who had it all, some would say she still does. Some would say… I still do.

Stephanie Bennett-Henry


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