Such Promise

They said I held such promise

Five years old, my first violin concert

I wore that dress with red and white stripes

Skittered notes across my strings

And moved my bow in circles reaching higher than my eyebrows

Like a breath at the end of every line

My parents said I had a ‘concentrating lip’

Pouting, thinking hard about the task

My concentration showed such promise,

they said


He said I held such promise

Right before his hand traced down my back

And there, in the boss’ office, I smiled

I couldn’t quit yet, but I would leave

In my own time, on my own terms

But not before it set in motion

A thought that grew inside my head

if success was down to me

or was just my face, my legs, my dress

that showed such promise


She said I held such promise

She was a writer and offered to help

I was never enough on my own, I knew

So I said gracious words in answer

Yes, please, fix me

I tore my heart out and then found she wanted another story told

Not the one in my mind

Not the one in my heart

It wasn’t my promise she was seeking,

but her own


‘You don’t need to hold such promise’,

I say out loud as my back slides down the wall

And I end up on the floor

Head in hands, reciting over and over

the endless words that spill off my tongue

to convince myself

That maybe we have value

regardless of our promise

And I tell myself: ‘You are not broken,

You’re enough, I promise.’

What are you looking for?