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Self-Portrait with an Ample Heart

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Back in grade
school, I was the girl
who pulled hats over
her face and let hair
cover her eyes
I closed my mouth
so nobody could see
my braces
or hear the things I
had to say that probably
weren’t too important
anyway.

I was the girl who
hid her body
like it was a curse
I didn’t want to
be one of those
women on the
street who wear
too much makeup or
sway their hips
side to side
when they walk
because then the
homeless man on the
corner of my block
paid them attention
And I didn’t want any attention.

It’s too bad I was
the first girl in
the fourth grade to
develop breasts
Because then the lunch
lady pointed them
out and I needed to
start wearing a bra.
And the doorman in
the building next door
noticed.

Why couldn’t I just
be like everyone
else and not be
the one who was
made fun of because
the straps of the first
purple sports bra
purchased at an outlet
peeked through the
sides of her tank
top.

Maybe that’s why
I put myself out there
so much now
I sing to the world
and dye my hair
red to show that
I’m not so
scared anymore

But there’s still a
part of me that
aches because I am
different. I am late
to breakfast at camp
because I have to
stand on the med line
And I can’t buy
my bras at Victoria’s
Secret. They don’t
sell my size.

And I grasp at
straws, trying to find
somebody who will
save me and tell
me that it’s going
to be okay and
I stab in the dark
looking for a hand
to hold.

Sometimes I think I
find someone else’s
fingers, but they
tend to let
go pretty quickly
and I am left
with my own
sweaty palms,
reminding me that
there is yet another
person who cannot
hold me the way
I want them to.

No matter how
inclusive I am,
you will not let
me kiss you.

I put my faith
in my words and
speak them with false
confidence and hope
that maybe they will
reach you
But I am nothing but
run-on sentences and
you cannot understand
and you don’t like me
the way I want you
to and you don’t
see me how I see
you even when I
wear rainbow pants.

Maybe I should just
go back to the girl
who hides in boy’s
clothing and Mets caps
I don’t think anyone
would miss me
too much.



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