Compromise

She gave her heart

To the man who took second place in her imagination,

The almost-but who held the hope of love but not its substance.

Each morning she woke from first place dreams of destiny to live the disappointing reality of Mr X.

What ifs robbed her peace.

But be grateful, her mother told her, to wake up next to regret rather than empty space.

She glimpsed the passion that had held her soul like a pillar to the ground, but in a flicker – gone.

Blown out by whispered anxieties and silent screaming anger,

Drowned in the shouts from this shell of promise who still found the gall to demand his kingship.

She had waited, now he did, for the birth of the remedy which choked her with the cord that gave him life.

Each stolen breath quickened her suffocation – the end of her hope for a new future; white and clean and unmade.

Love, they said, was hard work

But enslavement they did not warn her of.