Self-Esteem

by Ace Boggess

Not the chilly mirror self; it’s colder still.
Freckles dot your doubt-face.
Hope? Get rid of it early—mean-
spirited child that taunts & takes your toys.
Try hardest to disbelieve
lies you tell yourself about yourself.
So many cruelties shrink you
or shrink-wrap until you cannot breathe.
Self-esteem has its god-side, too:
do more, go further, drink marrow
from the bones of your tormentors.
Let’s be rock stars together
in this in-between space
where grave & clouds shake hands.
It’s finding a balance, comfort,
though more times than not, we can’t.
You know, don’t you, as do I?
We’ve punched ourselves in the silver eye
until our hurt reflections turned away.


Ace Boggess is an author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, and two novels, including States of Mercy. His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rattle, River Styx, Cream City Review, and other journals.