It’s not your fault that you told me to go on a diet when I was 7. It’s not your fault that you told me I looked 4 months pregnant after a holiday meal. It’s not your fault for yelling at my mom for eating 3 grapes after dinner. It’s not your fault that you look me up and down when I come home, checking to see that I am still skinny and within your standards.
It’s my fault for remembering.
You tell me to take myself less seriously.
On our last night you asked me
What I didn’t like about my body.
I got frustrated
(Too many things to list)
Why would anyone ask that?
You wanted to kiss all the parts
I didn’t like
Until I would like them.
So I named a few parts
And you put your head under the sheets
And kissed them until I fell asleep.
Today I want to tell you
Which parts I don’t like
(The parts my father pointed out to me)
But you aren’t here to kiss me any longer.
(Let me heal myself)
I am afraid when the chords of a song
stir my scattered feelings as they sweep along
into a faint memory of a joy
that even reality can’t quite destroy
and I realize the time it’s called forth is long lost,
that for feeling this glow there must now be a cost,
but I can’t stall my thoughts, try as hard as I might,
my smile a cheap remnant to which I’ve no right.
I’m afraid when I lay down to rest come night,
to see muddles of faces, hands reaching, eyes bright,
hear a roar that could be as dumbly benign
as empty white static, or could be a sign
of the dawn of an all-too-human storm –
and that’s when the worries begin to swarm.
Which do I hear? Well, I can’t really say;
depends on the weather, depends on the day.
I’m afraid that I cling to the masks we display
not out of trust, but to keep well at bay
thoughts of the future, of life’s breadth and speed
for as long as I still claim to know what I need.
I’m afraid when I open my mouth to speak,
feel the pressure of all I’d say, were I less weak;
see it dancing, unborn – flying leaps, landings sore –
done pretending it’s weightless, it pounds freedom’s door.
I’m afraid to lock eyes with people I know;
if things were this different, would they tell me so?
My mind and my stomach pull cartwheels in sync;
my eyes pealed for doubt, I can feel my voice shrink.
See, I fear most of all that you’ll throw me a rope,
that for the first time I will let myself hope,
that you’ll say to see, I can’t dread being seen,
and that I’ll leave my limbo for life’s in-between.