The Masquerade


There is a disparity

between my mind and my body,

like wearing a suit two sizes too small

and pressing out desperately

but unable to flee.


Looking in the mirror, facing fears,

hyper aware of the weight pulling

at my chest, my heart.

Further down, there is nothing

where there should be something.


Afraid to tell loved ones

that I do not want to hear my name

from their lips. I want to cover my ears,

my eyes, my tears,

when my mother tells me

that I will always be her beautiful baby girl.


It stings,

a swollen mass in the pit of my stomach,

ugly, infected with self-loathing,

and the wetness on my cheeks

as I add one more to the tally on my legs,

watch the blood trickle down my ankle.

They ask why I do it, their own tears

adding to my pool of guilt.

I want to be able to tell them

it’s because those legs belong to a girl

named Francine,

and I hate them.


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