Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Don't Lie

Among the most infuriating things that the trolls I was arguing with this week said were "don't lie" and "stop lying." I was thinking about how much that phrase is used as a way of silencing survivors. This poem is the result.


Don't lie.
Don't lie, they said.
Don't lie; don't lie in the dust,
hair so blended with sand
it looks ashen.

Don't lie.
Don't lie down, curled in bed
in a cave that has
no true protective power.
Don't lie when you can't
face the day.

Don't lie, they said.

Don't lie; don't lie in that casket
face flat as the newspaper picture,
printed last week: "missing"
now wrinkled, forgotten.
Don't lie.

Don't lie silently in waiting
don't lie as we hang
on the gallows you built;
don't lie beside us as we hang silently.
Silently, those words,
they silence us: don't lie.
Don't lie down and weep
on the courtroom floor,
any sense of justice suctioned out,

Don't lie.
Don't lie so quietly
he'll think you're sleeping
so you're safe.

Don't lie. Don't lie.
Don't lie; no, lie legs apart
(keep them still; they're shaking)
no, not like that;
lie still as a corpse.
Didn't the magazines
say not to fight?

Don't lie.
Don't lie on our graves.

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