On my hands there lie old wounds. 
Bloodied bands keep the seal. 
Said wounds, by now, have mostly healed,
But ignominy triggers the sting

Calloused under my skin, they held through lopsided terrain
Through the deluge of my tears,
As the blindfolds of deception fell
And during my most crippling fears,
And not once have they bled 

I’ve stained them with the sweat of my face
Moistened them with tears from my eyes
They’ve shushed my loudest complaints
But if ignominy stings, there’s the rise 

And don’t you dare ask for help
Don't you dare tumble nor keel
Keep fighting and there will be no pain—they won’t dare bleed
But if you’ve come to kneel..
Ignominy will ache. Like salt on a wound 

Cling to your pride. Behest.
It’s kept you lonely, but you’ve passed the tests
And better to die on your feet than live on your knees,
Or so said the rest

It was a lie you believed, then chiseled it into a promise kept.
Old wounds beneath bloodied bands are testament to hurdles leapt
And you will die on your feet, lonely, if prouder than the rest
And they may claim mercy on you, but you stood longer than the rest

Ignominy didn’t sting. And not once since have they bled.

By Katherine de la Rosa

PoetryJonathan Judge