2023 Barrett Winner
3rd Place Kalimah Gardner
My body, a slave to a pipe that births nothing but sweet lies.
I inhale her perfume till my dreams and reality are one and the same.
Injecting myself into false promises.
Breathing in lies till my lungs recognize what's real.
Maybe get full off television till I’m drunk with fiction.
But my eyes want more.
They crave an instant fix.
My body desires anything that takes the pain away.
So I consume more lies.
With each ounce, my stomach grows and my lungs beg for more.
I am what I eat.
Not ashamed to be a fraud.
As long as the lies help me sleep at night.
Lies put a smile on my face that tells the world, “I’m okay.”
They rattle my bones till I feel alive again. But I never will.
They kiss my cheeks.
Leaving me forever in their trance.
A tramp to their hands but I long for their touch.
I devour even more lies. I think I’m ready to endure life again.
I take one last look in the mirror but no longer recognize myself with the weight I put on.
My stomach has no appetite for the truth.