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Stories in Skeletons
People carry stories around with them like baggage.
It weighs down the folds of their body, beneath the eyes where shadows like to gather, the web of skin between the forefinger and thumb, the itchiness of elbows and palms.
Poetry is painted across veins in brutish, cruel strokes
that slash through skin and sinews and the dusty places in your heart that you don’t like to look at
“Listen to me. Please.”
The girl next door is nothing but bones poking through tissue paper casing like abandoned skyscrapers and awkward sketches of anorexic people drawn by a girl who eats too much and then vomits it into a toilet to be pretty again
she was beautiful with long hair once,
long hair that she could almost sit on
long hair that could be braided into a circus rope
long hair that reminded me of a princess
you see, when I was little I wanted long hair
because mine was chopped off to the ears in a fit of little-girl rebellion because the boys on my block wouldn’t play hockey with me and my sisters were too grown up and reminded me already of old ladies. It was scary.
But I liked her long hair.
I also like to go swimming in cold water, the kind that chills you to the bone and turns your knees into shades of transparent blue until you can’t really feel anything anymore,
I also like the smell of cigarette smoke and stories about girls who are sad
and boys who are careless
and I like jack-o-lanterns and Halloween candy
and the ache you feel in your tooth when sweetness is eating away at you
it feels like love is supposed to feel.
Mirrors never really work,
when I look at myself I see a little girl with short hair and worried eyes
not a girl with typewriter keys scarring her fingertips
and adolescent mood swings and
doubts about nearly everything she sees.
I can’t see my stories,
hidden under pale skin and pearly teeth and blonde, blonde hair that has finally grown long again, like the girl next door.
Strangers provide comfort like dream catchers and warm pillows and long books with thick pages and tiny writing,
I thrive on distraction
I don’t have the courage to read into my own skin.