chasing Elysium

bang bang! fists rapping on the door
and all they heard was silence
“open up” her step-father shouts as her mother bawls
but all they heard was silence

with a final heave the scared man breaks through the lock
into his cherished daughter’s room, to what?
her once glowing body hanging from the ceiling fan


rubbing her tired eyes, she stretched and rose from the bed
steeling herself for a new day, a new beginning
like a robot obeying an unseen master
she brushed her pearly white teeth, combed her hair
and stood in front of the looking glass

mirror, mirror on the wall
who’s the fairest of them all?
her flowing tresses a Stygian black
siphoning all the darkness from around her
her succulent lips which had forgotten how to smile
her eyes an endless abyss of sorrow
drawing one in like the depths of Tartarus
her skin but wait, her skin!

the color of burnt umber, poured over a buxom figure
in a society where angels are bleached white and Satan as black as night
she was a pariah, an unwanted child
she wandered into the past, when as a child
her step-father had spent thousands on skin-lightening creams
“Mommy i don’t want to be white, i want to be colorful”
“its colored darling, and fairness is beauty, you’ll see”
that was before they declared bankruptcy

fast-forward to twelve
she was no longer chubby, she was obese,
and at sixteen, dark and dumpy and destitute.
she had no friends, no one to confide in
for who would ever approach a girl in a patchwork shirt?

snapped into the present by the tinkling of the wind chimes
she gathered her thoughts and belongings (don’t start now)
dabbed at the pearls forming in her eyes before she could succumb to them
and pasted on a smile.
a beautiful Barbie doll, but the exact opposite

slam! she shut the front door and walked to school
the pelting rain echoing her tormented soul (don’t start now)
the sky an oppressive canopy of dismal grey
a beggar seeking alms jerked her out of her musings
she had a dollar, saved over a week for a candy bar
but she was a giver
someone laughed across the street
“don’t worry N*gro you’ll end up the same soon”
he jeered “just a little rounder!”
(don’t start now)

the day was like a daydream, like every other day
the will to live had been crushed out of her by people like him
and she was engulfed by despondency
but she survived, waging her war against the world
braving through the seconds, seconds seemed like minutes
(i want relief, no don’t start now)

avoiding everyone, she was a sheep
a black sheep maybe, but futile against a pack of wolves
always expecting the next blow, the next jibe
and never disappointed
she beamed at everyone she saw, a Cheshire grin
ear-to-ear, lighting up the world for a moment
but like a dying fire in need of oxygen, her smile flickered
a lack of warmth choking it; all that’s left was ash
(i can’t do this anymore)

her teachers pitied her, but that’s not what she needed
she thirsted for acceptance, for someone to say
“You’re perfect just the way you are”
she went home early, faking an illness
a wounded soldier retreating, dying a slow death
“how was your day, honey?”
her mom smiled, hoping against hope that
her little girl would magically resurface

“No mom”
she didn’t know that girl was no longer alive
chased away by the whispers of spinsters and taunts of maids
the tendrils of society stifling a child’s fantasies
why? Because she didn’t look like them
but maybe the kid wasn’t dead, but in a better place
a Paradise where everyone was different
where people were short or stout or tall or lean or black or white or brown or anything!
anything and everything and loved
(please i want to go there)

why! Why do i have to live like this?
i don’t want to be a puppet,
dancing to the tune of a cruel, narrow-minded world; i can’t.
but i don’t want to be a ghost anymore.
i want to shine, blind the world with my radiance
what good is life if you can’t really live it?
but i can’t, not now. So now what?
now i retreat. i go to that little girl in Elysium
i’ll wait for a world who can love me and maybe
just maybe, one day i can come back.

and so she made up her mind,
no longer wanting to settle for a downtrodden life,
she decided no life was better.
locking her room door, she finally gave in.
hot torrents of grief gushed down her cheek
pooling onto her raggedy jeans.
she smothered a scream before it reached the surface,
her mind a raging tempest, but her decision was final.
and just as soon as it began, it was over.
the storm had passed, and she was in the eye of the hurricane.

get up now, before you lose your nerve.
so she tied her blankets to form a noose
at least now, i’m strangling myself, not others.
with quivering knees, she tied it to the ceiling fan
goodbye mother.
she slipped the noose around her neck.
goodbye father.
she looked into the mirror one more time
i’m sorry but this is for you. i love you.
and stepped into the air
i’m free.


slowly swaying, her earrings jangling like the wind chimes she so loved
her lips parted with her last breath, never to smile again
her lovely brown skin was pale at last;
the color sucked out by the Reaper himself

her step-father froze at the sight of his little princess
her mother howling in agony
“she never even talked to us”
barely audible he tried to console his bereaved wife
“oh my little girl”
tears streamed through her eyes in a violent downpour
gut-wrenching sobs that tore through her husband’s chest
the salt of his soul streaked his face faster than his heartbeat
and they both cried.
 and their daughter was chasing Elysium.

About this poem

A heart-wrenching poem about a heart-broken girl. TW: suicide, self-harm.

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Written on July 08, 2020

Submitted by parvanibalaraja on October 08, 2022

Modified on March 05, 2023

5:24 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 5,735
Words 1,079
Stanzas 17
Stanza Lengths 4, 3, 5, 8, 8, 5, 5, 10, 6, 9, 8, 10, 10, 10, 11, 4, 10

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    Who wrote the poem "Dreams"?
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