imagine this

imagine if, every time someone mentioned your name,
another person mentioned, as a permanent footnote,
the worst thing you have ever done:
Cheryl Lawrie*.

Imagine if, every time you were introduced at a party,
you could see people scrolling through their memories,
until they are able to pull out the scrap of information about you
which they have filed for safe keeping:
the one with the newspaper headline, or the current affair exposé,
and the one word description:

Imagine if you knew
that every bit of good you have done, every bit of love you have shown,
would be discounted and disbelieved as soon as anyone knew it was you who did it
because everyone knows
nothing good can come from you.

Imagine if you were known only as
the sum total of the bad you have done

And if you can imagine that,
then you might be able to start imagining
how you would begin to treat the world
in return;
proving they were right
because there is no point
in trying to prove anything else.

*I know that name! Wasn’t she the person who shoplifted the lipstick / slept with him / lied about the broken window / failed that uni subject / drank too much vodka and orange while wearing school uniform…**

[**all or none of the above might be true]