I could not stay behind you, my Desire,
though my failing was not for want of love.
Your ambition I admired, your fire,
but for both of us it wasn’t enough.
We began on equal terms, two hearts,
partners in a balanced relationship,
but I was cut as you became the star;
you gulped the wine that I could only sip.
Sometimes I was content to hold the ladder
steady as you climbed up to the roof,
but, always left behind, I grew sadder,
lonely—not, as assumed, aloof.
When, against my will, you set me free,
I tried to climb, but fell, without you to help me.
T. Allen Culpepper
Notes: The line is from Twelfth Night, but the punctuation, capitalization, and context have been altered to change the meaning. The poem is also partially a response to the song “The Good Side,” by Troye Sivan, imagined from the opposite point of view.