You demanded fealty, unswerving trust,
Constant devotion. In return came
Taunting, childish threats to
Douse the string, watch it burn.
Can you still recall barked orders,
Inked ransom notes camouflaged in
Birthday cards: gift-wrapped futures
Bow-tied if only I would kowtow?
Everything had – has – its sticker price,
That sweet spot, tipping point with
Life weighed up and ground down to the cent
For whom cotton-ball skies
Were not then a metaphor, and
These games echoed with Faustian menace,
Even if the rules were vague.
You raised me a future;
I settled for a separation.