The Brief and Particular History of the Camera


I was 4 when I held my brother in my arms with a grin on my face

A zit on my chin from stress, no shirt on, lacking any sort of grace

Care for naught but my family and Saturday morning cartoons

And building snowmen outside between naps and Roller Coaster Tycoon

The flash of the camera lighting up eyes my parents adore

I was 4, I was 4


I was 10 when I no longer loved that camera flash

The light making my face look like a highway crash

Showing me the splash of pink on my skin, shoulders the broad side of a barn

A cracked nose from the sidewalk, a cigarette burn

A little sag under my chin, the pudge of overeating and childhood zen

I was 10, I was 10


I was 15 when I learned how to angle a camera

And get the flash just right in the bathroom mirror

How to open my eyes just right and just where to put the bobby pin

So it showed my mascara and the artificial blush, face a cake not of skin

But of powder and highlight and blue eyes photoshopped too bright to be seen

I was 15, I was 15


I was 17 when I came to the land of beautiful people

Where university said I belonged but I knew I could never be an equal

Look at their filtered, glowing skin and dating apps and their precious acts of sin

That I couldn’t commit because I wasn’t pretty enough

And they’d go places I’d never get to and had never seen

I was 17, I was 17


Now I’m 20 and the filter is off

To reveal the pink apples of my cheeks, the Zoloft seven times a week

The pudge that is part of me, the overeating that makes me happy

The love and stress that bring on zits, the plus size because it fits

The angle in no particular style so I can show off my toothless smile

Now I’m 20 and the filter is off

And I think that’s who I want to be

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