Yes, and yes,
you have been spotted,
but not just now.
The heart always knows when its tears are being used
to salve another's wounds.
From the moment you landed I've known
you were seeking love;
to receive, not to give.
to grieve, not to live.
You were mistaken if you thought your wounds were hidden
beneath your leather coat,
blood knows blood.
Your hands felt warm and sweet on my shattered soul.
My hand I let you take; I let you lead me into your arms.
No cries of protest, you say?
The butterfly makes no sound when a child crushes its wings
in order to get a closer look;
the daisy you picked to brighten your breakfast table
was silent as well.
I needed to feel life, I had been staring into the abyss for too long.
(Seventeen lifetimes, perhaps, how many for you?)
The soles of my feet ache from walking this eternal journey.
Bliss to be so easily tolled; at least until the curtain falls,
alas, I am not so lucky.
You may have forgotten, or perhaps you haven't learned yet:
the face of naivete makes for a most clever disguise.
You may be the Artist, but you are also the Muse.
Orchestrate your maneuvers if you must,
but be mindful that when the conductor turns his back
he does not really hide his movements.
I watch from the left mezzanine;
you can not see me for the glare of the stage lights in your eyes.
I watch because you live where I once lived,
in the sanctuary of trustworthy hands at your back
and faith in your stride:
I seek to find my faith again before the end of this dirty road.
Forgiving thieves and rapists is not such a challenge,
there is a tangible reward, the soul feels its righteousness,
and the lessons gleaned are clear.
But to forgive the ones who took refuge in my warmth
when I was freezing;
who rested their weary head on my shoulder when I was exhausted;
who basked in my praise but dismissed my face;
who feigned comfort to gain my trust, so that they may touch my flesh;
who left me behind after I muddied my robes to help them from the dirt;
who gloried in my applause but could not be bothered to notice my song.
To forgive these is the way to peace, and so I remain quietly in my seat,
watching, learning, forgiving.

When your heart is whole again, then you will remember
why it is wrong to use another heart's tears to salve your wounds,
how it burns soft skin like winter wind.
You will remember that there are none lesser than you,
nor you lesser than they.
And you will walk with your back straight,
and you will not need to avert your eyes any longer.
Your youth hides underneath this burden, it is not lost, not gone,
just waiting for you to heal, and remember what you already knew.
Perhaps I will still be watching;
perhaps my heart will be whole again, too.