“Don’t you dare, for one minute,
believe that my kindness makes me
anything but insurmountable.
I did not unzip my chest to every kind of hurt,
and stagger back, wounded and alive,
just to hear you call me weak for trying.
I opened my door to heartache—
I gave her the fucking key.
my softness for wayward strangers
has made me nothing less
than a halfway house for aching soles.
so when you open your mouth
and call me ‘baby’
understand that I am not your next victim
in a laundry list of broken girls.
you think I don’t know you? people like you?
people with mouths for hands.
I’ve got skin like topsoil
and your teeth could never take root.
so when you go looking to make a plaything
of a sunburst,
you better look for someone with less fire
because softness or no,
I will eat you alive
before I let you make a meal of me.”
― Ashe Vernon