prose

warmup series, #2

had to be funny ‘cause i couldn’t be beautiful, had to draw laughter ‘cause i couldn’t draw gazes. thumbs haphazardly shaped my form and sent me to the kiln without a second glance. it’s good enough, she’s good enough. won’t fit in. won’t stand out. yet i push at the bones of my face like the moon pushes the tides and wonder what her secret is, pockmarked and pale, everything and nothing. how do i make up for it, i ask? the clothes that don’t fit, the skin that won’t clear—how do i make up for the space that i fill? my debts are soaked in hair dye and acetone and benzoyl peroxide, and it burns, burns, burns. i pay them with words i’ve never heard, touches i’ve never felt, i pay them with singularity, with inferiority, with envy that ghosts against the glass of my heart. i bartered my likeness for jacks on the playground and came up with nothing. that’s all it is, really—the nothing. i can’t be forgotten because i can’t be remembered. can’t be choosy because i can’t be chosen. and, not for the first time, i wonder how much of me exists only for these reasons—if my heart is truly kind, or if i simply can’t afford to be any other way.

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