there’s a monster in my body
who wears my face,
but it’s not mine.
it can’t be mine.
there’s something repulsive
about looking in the mirror—
at least, why couldn’t she have been
a giant cockroach,
a yellow-eyed creature with green skin?
it’s hard to tell
where the world ends and
where I begin and
what is she, anyway? a puppeteer?
in some dizzy dream,
she paints on a different face
for each person I know.
no one can tell the difference but me—
she says I must be a collage,
a splintered mirror, a hundred silhouettes,
words and perceptions and idiosyncrasies,
glued together haphazardly.
I pull on the strings
and she tugs at the same time
our frozen joints sit at odd angles,
painted faces perfectly set.
if I grip the strings until they
leave marks on my fingers
will I find her? except—I’m the puppeteer,
and control is in my hands, so—
—I call for her and there’s no one
to be found but me, and if so, then,
here. construction paper, glue, glitter;
am I not the one with the pumping heart?
in the mirror, the face the monster sees
is mine, more me than me.
if I pick it apart I find white light,
then there, she must know
that is the color that lights the stage
and slackens every string.