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the reflection.

by lilithyoung

i’m watching her whither away in front of me.

i’m watching as her mascara runs down her cheeks in black tears,

as smoke escapes her mouth.

i’m sitting in front of her and i reach out to touch her, 

but i’m too far away to reach her.

i know what she needs.

i know what she desires.

i’m trying to calm her down but she can’t hear me over the sound of her own sobs.

old scars reopen 

and new scars form with every whimper.

she’s gasping for breath as she drowns in the ink she bleeds out.

the fire that she built within herself to keep others warm is now the fire that is burning her from the inside.

her own ashes get caught in her hair

the way that snowflakes land on children’s eyelashes.

i am watching, helpless, as she is beating herself senseless

because she sees herself as not good enough.

i am trying to teach her love

but every porcelain piece of myself i give to her

shatters as it touches her, 

and cuts her hands to ribbons.

one of these days we won’t be able to sedate her.

one of these days talking won’t be enough.

medication won’t be enough.

one of these days she will dwindle to nothing

and she will take me with her.

i am within and without.

within and without.

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36 Reviews

Points: 639
Reviews: 36

Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:20 pm
demoncat wrote a review...

Hello I am demoncat here to review. Your poem.

I thought this poem was pretty neat. I like the bit about porcelain. It had really good imagery. And it really makes me think. And I think that's something a good poem should always have. Good imagery and it makes you think. And of course alot of emotion Wich your poem definitely has! But that's just my personal opinion I guess. But I really did love this poem! And I suggest writing more. Because I will definitely be here to read it when you do.

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35 Reviews

Points: 5019
Reviews: 35

Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:34 am
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Liminality wrote a review...

Hello! The imagery in your poem is strong, and I especially liked the idea of "ashes" and "snowflakes". You've also ended with a pretty fascinating and memorable last line - which I'll talk about in a moment.

The themes here seem straightforward, yet engaging nonetheless. To me at least, it appears that the speaker is feeling the pain of watching someone they care about suffer, a part of the speaker suffering along with them ("within and without"). There are themes of empathy, mental illness and friendship (?). You're working with just one stanza, so that's still quite a lot to fit in.


1.) I think you know your stuff in terms of repetition. The repeated "I am watching . . . I am watching . . . " and "I know . . . I know . . . " conveys a strong sense of powerlessness, which I think is great.

2.) In terms of punctuation, I think you could try creating more effects with your commas and full stops. There are quite a few lines like "the fire . . . inside" that just run on, seemingly for no reason. Commas and full stops are good both for creating a sense of heavy emotion and just letting the reader breathe for a bit:

(You could use a comma as a caesura here, a pause mid-line to force the reader to compare and contrast the fires)

"the fire she built to warm others, the fire she built that burns her"

(You could use full stops in this line to create desperation.)

"She's gasping for breath. She's drowning in ink. She's bleeding out."


1.) I think this poem could do with some editing to cut out unnecessary words. Particularly for a poem with heavy emotions, it's important to be as concise as possible so none of the impact is lost. For example, you could take out:

-"to reach her" in "but i'm too far away to reach her"
-"that" and "within herself" in "the fire that she built . . ."

2.) Now about that last line: I had a bit of a tough time initially figuring out how it fits into the poem. I think this is because of the sudden tense switch from future to present? You spend quite a number of lines predicting a future outcome, so the sudden comment on the speaker's present status comes across as a bit jarring. Perhaps a couple of lines between "and she will take me with her" and "i am within and without" could help bridge the gap.

Overall Impressions

I thought your poem was striking, painting a vivid emotional picture. Some minor edits here and there would help to refine it further, and hopefully, these comments may help you with that. That's all from me, and good luck with your future work!

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77 Reviews

Points: 236
Reviews: 77

Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:37 pm
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shieldmaiden wrote a review...

Very thought provoking piece. I really loved the imagery! "Drowns in the ink she bleeds out" and "her own ashes get caught in her hair" are amazing. The title is called "the reflection". Does this mean that the girl is fighting to cheer herself up, yet feels unable to win the war that beating inside of her? I feel sad for this girl. Does she have any friends to cheer her up? Or is this woman too far gone that only she can help herself? Is this a war only she can win? Fantastic work on this piece. I already care so much about this character and wish to know more. Keep writing!


“Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you— Ye are many—they are few.”
— Mary Shelly