Marked red on my calendar: my body
it exists, unmoored,
metamorphosing, moistening
peeling lips. Stained long-sleeve
t-shirt pits, my moments swamped
with wet and weakening. When
will I learn

self-control, self-immolation, forms
of self-defense? I am tender-
hearted thin-skinned my only armor
flesh, traitorous cheeks, flushing: the unfought fight
forfeited. Disguise is my compromise. I won’t
stop crying, pinkening
in public, I will only become
invisible. Or
camouflaged enough that they will see
someone, something
else. Who are they? Not

the woman in the mirror, rosacean-faced
burst blood vessels broadcasting
my soul. I would wear makeup if
it didn’t give me hives; masks
are in vogue. Fingers on my mouth gift me
pimples, acne, bitten nails. A hovering hand
draws perspiration. I shiver
in my sweater, sweat coating skin; I am

in heat, a woman stung
by the candle’s both ends. My bosom
girlfriends: hormones, age, inexplicable rage, I need
more than I need this expression
of myself, of the page; of my memory
of myself, on the page, on my skin and
beneath this flesh, beneath the bubbling
unbled; among the bones, somewhere unfound, unfought,
yet not lost.

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