There is a sorrow —
where love once stood.
I believed to be steadfast and true,
but youth and naivety twisted what was real,
painted the deception displayed on our wall —
the facade we shared with others
when they came to call.
You defined us on social media,
so different than the us we are in real life —
the you who wishes for me to fail.
The you who is unable to listen,
who tells me to leave,
as if it were really that simple.
I quit once —
a mistake, a diversion into another realm,
because you said it was for the best.
not when you count what I lost,
the thing I can not attain.
Somehow, a fluke, a joke, a random decision,
brought me back.
So here I stand—
but not alone.
I’ve found a network,
friends who fan my passion,
colleagues who push me hardest when I’m in pain.
But late at night, when darkness falls
I lay awake and regret descends.
Having deemed my dreams foolishness,
and snickered each time I faltered or fell,
you cast me adrift.
Did you ever love me?
I don’t doubt that you thought you did,
but reality veered from sentiment,
and words now fall like shattered glass.
Listlessly, I pull
splintered shards from my flesh.
Elizabeth Jaeger teaches writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her work has been published in Trash Panda Poetry, Conclusion Magazine, Watchung Review, The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, The New Ink Review, Ovunque Siamo, Placeholder Magazine, Parentheses Journal, Brush Talks, Waypoints, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Peacock Journal, Boston Accent Lit, Damfino, Inside the Bell Jar, Blue Planet Journal, Italian Americana, Yellow Chair Review, Drowing Gull, Icarus Down Review, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Atticus Review, and Literary Explorer. She has published book reviews in TLR Online and has participated in an episode of No, YOU Tell It!