I Asked Why Have You Denied Yourself Love

Answers crowdsourced from the author’s Instagram. Italics denote direct quotes.

Absent parent(s) 
and the man who made me 

mistrust every man after. 

I haven’t earned it yet—
what is love if not a salary? 

The sweet treat we get 

for being demure.
It feels too selfish,

too vulgar, unladylike 

to gorge myself
on the moist cake of it. 

I’ve got bad credit, 

a prettier sibling, a rank 
history of mistakes,

each one more foul 

than the last. The timing
was all wrong. 

The timing was right 

but I was afraid 
of losing it.

I am disorganized.

My brain is broken, 
and it was stuck on something 

I thought was love.

I’ve spit out it before
just to prove that I can.

I believe I am ugly.

and in the end, 
it’s just easier this way,

familiar as a callous, 

tongued over like 
a cracked tooth:

suffering feels cleaner, 

because if I start to believe
I actually deserve love,

I’d have to find 

unacceptable all 
those incapable of 

giving it.

“I Asked Why Have You Denied Yourself Love” by Sierra DeMulder. Copyright 2023. Courtesy of Button Publishing Inc.