I pick at the places on my head
under my hair
the warts the boils the blisters.
I wonder if you are hiding under
any of them?

It took me a lifetime
to look in the mirror
and not see a frog.

These days the rain
falls on our roof
and I wonder what it would feel like
on my body
but I don’t go outside. I sit. I sit
and wither, inside, like a plant,
like a woman
with no dreams.

Is it our house
when I grew up there
but own nothing but
the space around my own body?
Or is it my house?
It has never felt just mine.
I share my life with so many
shades
of human beings,
so many depressed, sick, problematic,
forgetful, cruel people,
I wonder if I am one of them, too.
Monkey see, monkey do.

Who did my parents
teach me to be,
and how did that person change
after her first heartbreak,
after her first betrayal from a friend,
after the first night she woke up
in a room with scalloped edges
beside a person, no doubt not a shade of horrible,
but still terrifying,
after forgetting what it felt like
to love you,
after skinned knees
and getting people to buy you lunch
because you can’t afford it.
Hardship humbles you. It
is right at your dermis, you cannot hide
your learning.

Learning is out in the open,
like ordering your drink at a Starbucks
and bursting into tears inside your car,

like walking away from a strangers apartment,
hair disheveled,

like having your grandfather call you cruel
after you forgot to toast his bread,

like being wine-drunk in the afternoon
not knowing what you want to do,
doing what you’re supposed to,
but feeling nothing through it all.

Photo credit: Mariczka Rubon on Flickr

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