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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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314 Reviews

Points: 9235
Reviews: 314

Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:32 am
mellifera wrote a review...

Hey lilithyoung! I'll be swinging by for a review today :)

I'm not well-versed in poetry, or reviewing poetry, so feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt!

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

"whither" should be "wither", but as far as a beginning line goes, I really love it! It captured my attention, and brings an immediate sense of loss/grief.

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

This is more of a personal objection, but I think "out" makes the sentence a little weaker? It also doesn't add anything to the sentence, because it would have the same connotations as it does now without it. Which, in my opinion, means it is unnecessary.

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

I absolutely adore this line. It's so heartbreaking and tragic, (in my interpretation) that someone can put themselves out there for others and either not receive the same kind of care and attention or have it backfire on them. It's also relatable, which makes it all the better (in terms of imagery haha).

but every porcelain piece of my myself i give to her
shatters as it touches her,
and cuts her hands to ribbons.

ahhh this also hit really hard. This is really beautiful imagery, really hard hitting and emotional, and you did such a good job with it.

You convey an amazingly heartbreaking sense of helplessness and grief, of watching someone you care about belittle and break themselves. It's the empty sort of feeling you get from watching water run over your hands and not being able to catch it (in a broad sense of the term, I often believe that this is what helplessness feels like. For me, anyway). I actually also really love the lower case, but this poem feels quiet, if that makes sense. The speaker of the poem is not shouting, or conveying their emotions loudly, they are letting them flow with every painful word of how they're feeling. It's (to me, anyway) like an exhale.

Anyway, amazing job with this one! Thank you for sharing it ^^ If you have any comments or questions about anything I said, please let me know!

I hope you have a fantastic day, and Happy RevMo!


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37 Reviews

Points: 300
Reviews: 37

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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55 Reviews

Points: 8027
Reviews: 55

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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98 Reviews

Points: 782
Reviews: 98

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!


When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
— Abraham Heschel