“people say real…” he stops, searching for a word, “real interesting things about you, you know that?”
when he hesitates before saying ‘interesting’
i bite back a scoff and leave myself to wonder
what baggage my name carries
when people say it like venom
spilling from the gaps between their teeth
they must lecture him like he’s the new kid
in a class i wasn’t bright enough
to be invited to
they must tell him:
she’s the ugly friend. the oddball. a caricature of the obscure.
she cuts the skin around her ankles while she shaves. on purpose.
she likes the burning sensation
almost more than she likes the sound of nails on a chalkboard.
i heard she makes jewelry out of her little sisters baby teeth
and sucks the blood of her foes.
what she has is never enough.
her signature scent is misery
and she washes her clothes with despair every night.
if you get too close or break her heart,
she’ll write a poem about you
and dance to the beat of your suffering.
she laughs so hard
she cries. when she cries,
she pours lemon juice on her papercuts,
and she’ll pour them on yours too.
i heard she walked on glass with bare feet once before.
she leaves her shoelaces untied,
in hopes that someone will finally catch her
when she falls.
i want to laugh at the thought that he used the word ‘interesting’
instead of what he really meant
bone-chilling. terrifying. disturbing.
i want to laugh at the way he looks at me
but doesn’t really look at me
like i am medusa
he will turn to stone
i feel the need to ask what they say about me
even though i know
fire will be the only thing that fills me
when he tells me they think I'm cold
fire when he tells me he thinks the same
because he doesn’t really know me
i resist the urge to ask
instead i wear the widest grin on my face
a warm defense mechanism
to distract him from how cold
i really am