You don’t have to be loved

From Bath to Cork with baby Grace

You don’t have to be loved.

You don’t have to be noticed.
You don’t have to have blood seeping from your heart,
arteries opened and veins cut.
You do not have to have a scowl on your face
for people to pay attention.
You don’t have to be dying
(or wanting to die)
for others to see.
You do not have to feel thorns
pressing into your head
for your lover to be uncomfortable enough
to stop and say to themselves

Are you OK?
What’s up?
You don’t look good to me.
Is anything the matter?
I wish you’d speak.
I am bothered,
it matters to me.”

You do not have to be silent
for your friend to say to you

What’s the matter?
You look rough.
You seem out of sorts?
You look awful.
What’s up?

You do not have to be loved.
You don’t have to…

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