Star Wars Cards

I’ve worn this war paint for so long
I don’t know how to take it off
I don’t know what I look like without it
I don’t know who I am underneath
Or even if there is a me beneath it

This is my calloused skin
Layered thick with “boys don’t cry”
And “what’s wrong with you?”
And “why can’t you act your age?”

When I collected Star Wars cards
My father shook his head
At the wasted money:
He didn’t care that the sorting of those cards,
The cataloging and the organization,
Was what tethered me to the world

I thought I was the little boy with the red balloon
Now I know
I was the red balloon with the little boy

And I want to tell you all about it
Like a child first discovering dinosaurs
But I’m afraid that you’ll get that sad look
Like my family
Like my teachers
Like my classmates
That tells me you don’t really care

— Clio 04.20.21

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