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Riley Arellano, Featured Writer

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I Learned early of the walls that are meant to keep people in cages for crimes they did or didn’t commit.

I learned about anger and misplaced hatred and faith in a false hopes and dreams.

I learned that looks of pity and hatred were due to lies that slithered from the Devil’s mouth

I learned that a pinkie promise will end in bruising and broken bones, scars, and a hatred of home.

I learned of the fear of speaking out is well justified.

I learned a two by four and blood on the floor.

I learned of a false hug and my name dragged through the mud.

I learned not to trust anyone with my thoughts because all words make their

way back to the Devil.

And what are words to the Devil, fodder for fear and anger.

Excuses for broken hearts and skin.

Skin is something that tells a story.

A litany of scars and a cavalcade of bruises.

What for?

Freedom?

Freedom came at a cost.

Broken home, broken memories and a broken soul.

Trudging through the layers of snow because the Devil decided to make everything harder.

Kerosene soaked garbage bags and a Sisyphean plight rolling six broken bags up a mountain because the Devil wanted to test my will and fight.

Then, I trusted the false shepherd. She left me to wither but I flourished and proved her and the Devil wrong. I blossomed and burst into song.

I survived.

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