It echoes.

Where am I? What has this place become?

Sweet darling, follow me

I’ll teach you.


            “I’m okay. I’m okay”

Sure, whatever you need to convince yourself, kid

“It’s not too bad,

                                    Is it?”

Of course not.

Just a little bit more

A tuck here, some more there

They’ll like you better

            I just wanted to be loved


Spit that out, you don’t need it

            “I don’t need it”

Yes, correct

All you need is I


One day isn’t too bad

Two would be better

You’ll look lovely darling

            “Is lovely enough?”

            “Is anything enough?”

Skip another day

            “I need something”

You’ve got me


Little piggy, put that down

It’s poison to you now.

            “I’m so cold”

                                    but I can’t let this go

            maybe you should

                                    I can’t

                                    It’s not too bad



                                    It’s not too bad

Hun, remember those numbers


Then 100.




more more more

It’s so dark here.

But what do you even need to see?



            “I. I can’t see myself”

Why on earth would you want to?


The other ones have discipline

Why can’t you control yourself?

            “I’ve been trying so hard”

Yet you slipped up,

                                    didn’t you?

Don’t worry, my child, I know just the fix


Rid yourself of it all

            This will be the only time

                                    Only this once


            And maybe tomorrow



            “I’m okay,

                                    I’m okay,







Samantha Riley

Originally appeared in the 2013-2014 edition of Outside In