The Price (A poem)

I came up fucked up,

No clue where I belonged,

Sure my mom was nice,

But she was also on a run.

I went to some good schools,

But moved three times a year,

I made a few friends,

Just in time to disappear.

I grew up puttin down roots,

But then I had to pull em up,

Because nothing ever lasts,

When your mothers on drugs.

When she tucks you into bed,

And then dips for a week,

You learn the best way to live,

Is to never love a thing.

If you don’t love,

You can’t lose,

And if you don’t lose,

You can’t hurt.

So go through life,

With nothing but a bag and a shirt.

And that poor tattered book bag,

Sees all hallways, adult staff.

Social services, church members,

Tell me, can you see that?

Everyone says,

Don’t turn out like your mom“,

Don’t they realize you get tired

Of the same old song?

It’s like you’re condemned from birth,

And raised to be an addict,

Because god only knows,

No child survives their mother’s habit.”

So I got the same dirty looks

That her silent misdeeds did,

And I was seen just as guilty,

Just for being her damn kid.

So I grew up on the outskirts,

Of society and normalcy,

And when it came time to see who I would be,

I was lost in this dependency.

I was raised by kid fuckers

and drug addicts,

You can’t know how deep it goes,

Until you’ve been there and made it back.

I was a commodity, bought and sold.

Mama closed her eyes,

To hide the face of her addiction,

She made those the choices,

But I paid the consequences.

There’s a sickness inside her,

She always let the sickest inside her,

And once she brought them home,

Not a thing could survive there.

So I lived a life of death,

No heart and no voice,

You bury those things deep,

Cause you don’t have a choice.

You go through each day,

Never truly living,

Because innocence can’t survive,

In the face of that sickness.

I stand here grown up,

Know you can’t see what bred me,

You love who I’ve become,

But this history is deadly.

I was born fighting,

My way through hell and back,

And while I may have made it,

I wear these scars on my back.

It’s such a crazy thing,

To see people envy me,

They want the strength I possess,

But don’t know what it cost me.

I paid for this resilience,

In blood, tears, and sweat,

And it stained me for years,

As it ran down my chest.

Those days made to break you,

Lasted decades for me,

When you feel like you can’t breathe,

That was my slice of normalcy.

The pain most can’t endure,

Was my everyday life,

And while I’m not tryna brag,

I know I’m bred to survive.

So I’ll put a smile on my face,

And do this shit with grace,

And while you envy this strength,

I’ll remember the price that I paid.

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

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