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The Pit

By: Rahel Abebe

The Poem

To call it by its name would
Make it real
Feed it
Empower it
Permit it to control you
So instead you dig a depth so devastatingly deep that it loses itself in the recesses of your
To cry would be too easy
To scream—a concession
And you wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression

You’re strong
You’re impenetrable
You’re the pinnacle of placidity
Though every day it grows restless in the chasm of your consciousness
And you feel its claws scraping at your insides
Restrain it, silence it
Keep the beast confined
Keep smiling, maintain your mask so meticulously designed

You’re strong
You’re impenetrable
You’re the archetype of aloof
If you were to crumble now, who knows what would be left of you
Dig deeper, work harder
To push it further down
Any sign of weakness and it’ll put you in the ground

The truth is
You’re weary
You’re exhausted
You’re the portrait of prostrate
All your struggling has only made it stronger, more agile, more cunning
From so far down below
Its voice should be no more than a whisper
Still you feel its venom in your ear, wrapping itself around every thought
It grows and surges until it breaches the barrier
Until your defences pale in comparison
And it forces its way out through every pore
With a crash so spirit shaking that you can hardly stay on your feet

After the rush of the pain
After its escape from your core
After the heat of its oppression has scalded and broken your skin
You are littered with fissures, cracks,
Remnants of your futile efforts

And yet,
As you gather what is left of yourself,
You cannot help but feel the relief of breaking,
The reprieve of peace,
In every gap
In every jigsaw-shaped piece of your being.

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