“If You Provoke Me” by Linda M. Crate

if you provoke me
i may have been difficult,
but was it so hard to understand
that i was just tired of making myself
vulnerable to the wrong people?
some people are only happy
when you’re miserable,
and i wanted someone who truly cared;
but it seems love was too much
to ask for
because no one’s ever been able to love me
the way i need them to—
i am not someone you can tame or own
wild and fierce
i refuse every pedestal and cage,
and every sharp edge of their rage;
i have got a temper of my own
built of both water and fire i can drown
or burn sinew;
i would prefer to be left in the flower gardens
or dancing in the trees or swimming in the calmest
whispers of the sea—
but if you provoke me prepare for war
i will not be torn from my dreams.


Linda M. Crate is a writer whose works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).

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