Maybe every word of it is true.
Your heart is ice.
You are broken,
worth no more
than a dime store grocery bag
dropped in a back street gutter.
Maybe you have squandered
every chance you’ve been given.
You are a lousy parent
a boor at parties
unbearable in bed
and ugly to boot.
Maybe truth
is every harsh word
ever hurled at your brittle bones.
What then
but the choice to pretend
it is not?
Feign learning something.
Act like you care.
Flex your muscles and brandish your sword
even though you know it is foolhardy
and sure to fail.
Maybe all this posturing
will stretch the very flesh of your useless body
and in that capacious garment
you will find yourself changed.
Or maybe not.
It does not matter.
You will be so good
no one will ever know,
not even the dragon
as it falls against your steel.
Take your secret to the grave.
Fool the gods
into making a place for you
at the table.

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