I never see myself from the outside,
At least, not lucidly.
I appear in many different forms--
My thick hair, light, undyed, naive, loose but finding its way into the skull-yanking, scrunchy-tightness of my mother's hands,
is in pigtails.
I'm a kindergartner in a private school where I have no friends and as hard as my little voice tries, it can't stitch blank faces into smiles but easily knits years of frowns and rolled eyes.
Bags of all kinds,
Messenger, backpack, lunch box, grocery, eyes,
All piled on my body,
Oversized hoodies, sweaters, wrappings of blankets, heavy boots, pants thicker than the skin of those that made me feel small.
If you peel back every layer,
You'll find an unraveling little creature struggling to take shelter.
Its ugly, blue in every sense, and trying so hard to go about unnoticed that it buried itself in silence.
No grin. No fear.
Teeth sharpened, tongue lashing,
There is a coldness in my throat and a compulsion in my gut that