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you made me but you will not make me bitter by Marta Špoljar

when people have parents go with them to pride

when fathers carry signs and flags and stickers and slogans

when mothers give speeches, i will not be bitter.

i will not be bitter when someone else's dad

paints his post box the colours of the rainbow.

when my friend's mother befriends her girlfriend,

i will not be bitter. i will not be, i cannot be.

i will let them show me how love is meant to look —

how lightness, how happy, how joy

wipe bruises off knees, how healing

rhymes with possible when spoken in actions.

i will not be bitter because i plan to stand there

one day with a family that i have built by watching

strangers treat each other how i want myself to treat them.

i roll up my sleeves and bare every scar, let sunlight

burn off the way we taught each other to forgive

everything except wanting to need no forgiveness. i sift through

our conversation for however you spelled „proud of you“

the euphemisms and the silences. i count

the scars you couldn’t heal

not to love me, not to love yourself.

not to see if there’s something sweeter across that river

if maybe there are some things worth not letting yourself drown.

i promise to love us both the way we deserve it

i promise to love us like split skin scarring over.

i promise to love like bones hurt as they’re growing

i promise to keep growing until it no longer hurts.


Marta Špoljar is a translation student from Zagreb, Croatia. Her poetry has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic and Pollux Journal and she can be found running social media for The Wondrous Real Magazine. Words she cannot put into poetry she tweets from @shhhhhpoljar.

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