Dear Susan

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live your life and then be forced to do it all again? This piece was performed by Emily Buza at our Love Poetry Open Mic, and it presents an interesting take on the mystical world of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia.


Dear Susan

Emily Buza

Did it hurt?
Not just being taken from your home,
your kingdom and castle left to rot,
But in all the little ways,
the mundane moments.
Did those hurt, too?

The skinned knees and splinters
from tumbling out of a wardrobe
weren’t the worst of it,
Were they?

Did getting dressed the next day hurt?
Seeing a child in the mirror
when yesterday you were a queen.
Opening your trunk to find
blouses and schoolgirl skirts
instead of your gowns and cloaks.
Touching your flat chest and knowing
that it will take half a decade before you can
again fill out a corset
that you have already worn for years.

Did that hurt?

Did seeing beautiful women hurt?
The propaganda girls with curled hair
and perfect curves.
The catalogue models in dresses
that you can not afford
with war-torn pocket change.
Did their painted nails cut like knives?
Did every cherry smile burn?

Did just seeing them hurt?

Did the softness of your hands hurt?
The memories of war and death
still fresh in your far too young mind.
But the callouses that marked you
as both “warrior” and “savior”
no where to be found.
Did it hurt when you stabbed your thumb
while sewing something useful
and realized that a needle
could still draw blood?
Did it hurt more than the swords
That left the scars
You no longer bear?
Did you miss disfigurement
more than The Gentle should?

Did it hurt when you didn’t bleed
for the first time in over a decade?
Two months after your untimely usurpation
when you realize you’re not late,
you just haven’t started yet.
Did you cry in the bathroom?
And mourn something you hated
Because at least it marked you as Woman?
Did it hurt in a way
no actual period had before?
Because the loss of the terribly familiar
is more painful than
the arrival of the horribly unexpected.

Did the absence of pain hurt?

Did the family glares hurt?
When they laughed at your want
for Beauty and Companionship.
Your gowns were gorgeous
but you can not desire the same on Earth.
The aspirations of a queen
are labeled Vanity and Greed.
Expected to marry a distant king
but ridiculed for noticing
that mundane boys notice you
and shamed for enjoying it.

I’m sorry that they told you
Beauty and Bravery were enemies.
That they did not believe
painted nails could pull a bow string.
That they did not understand
that nylons helped you feel pretty
in an even uglier world.
They told you
to love others as yourself
But warned you
not to love yourself too much.

They labeled you Gentle
then shunned you
When you painted it in red
across your mouth.

Did that hurt, too?


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