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Look At Me

A poem by Myriam Hajjaji

Look at me.

I want you to look at me.

I want you to see and to understand.

I want you to feel my pain.

The cuts on my arms, on my thighs,

The crushing weight in my chest and

The corkscrew that twists a little deeper each breath,

Cracking rib after rib until reaches the soft pulsing flesh

Of the heart.

I want to you to suffer like I suffered,

Because I know it is the only way

You can ever understand.

Look at me.

Look at the hope in my eyes when I come to you.

Look at the coldness of my smile when you mock

And the sharpness of my eye.

Ready to lash out.

Ready to cry.

You pain me.

Look at me.


I am a wingless bird,

A little thing, shattered against the wall

By winds too strong for me to navigate.

Yours is the only voice I hear howling in the silence.

Look at me then,

The pathetic little thing,

Hissing and snapping and biting

To hide the meekness that threatens to pour out.

A bad dog to put down.

The weakest of the flock.


Look at me. I’ve been thinking of ending it.

Put an end to the ache,

The endless lamentations.

The disappointment.

Look at me.

There is no hope for the weak link other than

To break off to offer the chance for another, stronger,

To take its place.

I’ve spoken of this once before.

Look at me.

Tried to offer you as plain an explanation as I could.


You make me want to scream.

You absurd, ruthless idol.

Look at me.

I’ll fill the space between words.

Look at me.

You don’t care, do you?

I need something loud, garish.


Look at me.

You give me nothing to grab onto.

Merciless is the marble of your face.

Smooth, slippery, slick, sleek, stop,


Look at me.


I need to know it will be okay.

I need you to look.

I’m too far gone when you


Is this what it takes for you to look?

Is violence our only common tongue?

Why couldn’t you just look at me?

Am I hideous

Or are you?

You disgust me.

I love you.

I hate you.

And you don’t even think of me.

Fine, then.

Don’t look.

Nothing to see over here.

This fight you haven’t been invited to.

I don’t need you to look at me.

I can look at myself,

Seeing everything you refused to acknowledge.

If you do not deign to spare the time,

I will make up my own steps along the way.



Uninterrupted, fluttering.

Some I will have to walk through over and over.

There will be hardships

And times where I will wish you had

Looked at me.


Oh, don’t look now,

It’s not ready yet.

I’m still practicing.

Words still hanging in the air,

Waiting to reach the paper.

Don’t look.

I don’t want you there anymore.

You’re all thorns and venom,

And my wound is only just healing.

Perhaps you should look at yourself,

See if something can be done.

I won’t be by your side.

I will not speak,

And I will not open my arms.

I will love you from afar

The way the sky loves the sea

And the sea loves the moon.


I will love you like the cat loves the child

Whose hand fed it once,

Long, long ago. I will love you the way the child

Cherishes the memory of the cat,

And the way the parent is fond

Of the child’s delight in the old picture frame.

I will love you distantly,

With the kind of regret that only

Comes with what might have been.

Don’t look back.

Back to BoundBy: November '23 (Edition #6)

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