But you find yourself friends with one.
At first you think this can actually work.
After all, you are not the victim here.
And you think this one has a soul.
And you think this one is capable
of caring about you–
even as its teeth break your skin.
But it is always about the blood
and there is never any light–
only tunnels and no end.
And soon you find yourself providing
an endless stream of empathy
to fill veins that can’t begin
to hold everything you are giving.
And when you don’t serve
its happiness anymore it will stab
you with a stake you didn’t
have the heart to sink in
a self it couldn’t see anyway–
even when you pull the shade
and hold the mirror up.
Victoria Nordlund is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her poetry collection Binge Watching Winter on Mute was published by Main Street Rag in June 2019. She is a 2018 Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Gone Lawn, Pidgeonholes, Drunk Monkeys, and elsewhere. Visit her at VictoriaNordlund.com.