at the edge of the rushes

i wanted to show you what my face looked like behind the mask
but i was afraid that you would turn me away
just like the ones i knew when i was a child
like the girls who laughed at my shows of femininity
at my tears
at the dolls that rocked me to sleep at night
like the boys who kept me on the edge of their reality
neither in nor out
sitting in left field at the edge of the rushes
just to block the balls that were hit out to me
out there was where i divided
like a zygote
and left a bit of my spirit to roam
among the tombstones in the cemetery across the creek
lost among the ghosts that belonged to the names that we had all forgotten
i cannot go back there again
even if it means that that’s the only way to make my soul complete
even if it means that i will never feel whole
without recovering that wisp that wanders under the full moon
this is one of the secrets i wanted to tell you
this was one of the masks i wanted to show you
before i threw it on the concrete floor of my deliverance
but i was afraid you’d laugh
i was afraid of your laughter
i was afraid of your slaughter
so i kept my mask in place
and let you keep your own version of me
intact

– Clio 03.01.21

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