I am a Russian stacking doll.

  I can fold into and onto myself

    so that the real me

  is hidden beneath the better layers that are okay for everyone else to see.

I am a Russian stacking doll,

  a product of my own design.

    According to my blueprints,

  the rawest, softest parts of me are tucked away and safely secured inside my innermost shell

so that I stick to walls in parties

  as I dance to the beat in my head

    and hum along to my friends' singing

  while my throat itches to let my voice join them.

I am a Russian stacking doll,

  and I feel the fragility behind my socially-constructed mask;

    what is hidden will eventually be found,

  what is suppressed will eventually make its way out.

But the status quo is my outer layer

  and fear of judgement is just beneath.

    As these visceral desires clash

  I smile outwardly to conceal my internal discord.

I am still a Russian stacking doll.

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