my anguish doesn't gather in my bones and weigh me down
like mary shelley said, but i will defend it.
instead it layers on my face like dead skin
no matter how many times i wash with warm water
and apply moisturizer in the sunlight by my window
or if i take one of those facial blades and try to scrape
my grievances off, they won't budge.
but i've decided that's what is beautiful about my face-
the accumulation of anguishes, but also joys.
i can see where the lines will be when i'm older
and i note that they look like my great grandmother's
laugh lines. i can see the outline of my nose at a
certain angle where it looks like my mother's.
the circles under my eyes acquire a certain scaly effect
and it reminds me of the time i said my mother had
the eyes of a wise old dragon- and i couldn't understand
why she was upset when i thought it was the coolest
thing ever to have purple under your eyes.
all the places i've ever been, all the air i've ever breathed
layered on my skin. i can see it clearly in the sunlight, the
reds of my impurities, the freckles where the fairies kissed me,
a stray eyelash, a crooked scar that's invisible to everyone but me.
it's not perfect (i have to remind myself that no one's is) but
it's mine, it contains everything that makes me tangible and
visible. i'll never know what i truly look like in another's eyes
but maybe it's better that way.