Sticks and Stones

I’ll be trading barbs with you
until one finally sticks —
heavy to your ribs —
making each breath you take
sharp and painful.

I won’t feel guilty
as I watch you labor
to forget my words —
but they are attached
to each of your muscles,
making every move a struggle,
until you have no choice
but to still.

I will lift my upper hand —
raised so high you cannot reach it,
let it reign,
angry and hot,
let it scorch your sharp tongue,
until finally,
you fall silent.

Mandy Whyte