The Nights When I Can’t Protect Myself By Kanika Lawton

The Nights When I Can’t Protect Myself

I wonder if it will always be like this, the
small twist in the base of my throat, the
pain of swallowing “I’m fine” and “I like being

It sits in the back of my skull, carves itself
into the bone, makes a home for its parasitic
body and soul.

Doubt at my lover. Doubt as the one and

I’ve made my bed. I’ve laid in it.
I’ve curled the sheets between my

I’ve told them that I’m waiting

until I can anchor myself to the
earth again
until I can learn the map of my own
heart again.

I’m a liar. A good one.
Telling myself there’s always
the next one
the next one
the next one
that one day someone will look at me
the way I look at them.

The ache is growing, blooming,
like a putrid flower between my

I lie and I lie and I lie.
I wish I didn’t have to.

By Kanika Lawton


Kanika Lawton is a psychology and film student from Vancouver, Canada who is currently studying at the University of California Los Angeles. In 2013 she received several Gold and Silver Keys for her poetry and short story submissions in the Scholastic’s Art & Writing Awards and was the national winner for the Draw it! poster category in the 2013 Canada Day Challenge. She draws inspiration from real life events and believes profusely in the power of memory and perception. More of her work can be found at

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