Art Contest: 3rd Place Winner

Us

by Lupin Thurrott

 

There is a man standing close his
roughened fingers tangling in my
dark hair.
For once I don’t mind.

“You want it like the picture?” he
asks his voice sad;
to him it must be a shame, but
I say “Yes please”,

and he does not ask again only
starts cutting,
and as the first lock falls down I feel
My head rise.

I look toward that stranger’s face
inside the mirror
watching Her identity
fall onto the floor.

I feel an ache in My chest as
Her lip quivers
asking me with those eyes “Why?” I
don’t have the words.

The best tribute I can make is
keeping My eyes
open every single time She
is torn away.

I owe Her that much. I do She
tried to love Me
it’s not Our fault We don’t match. It is
not Our fault.

No one wants to feel foreign
inside their own skin.
All We want to feel is right, not
perfect, just right.

I wish I had the strength to
accept being Her,
realize that becoming Me will
make life harder,

be able to find comfort
in acknowledging
that She, We, are beautiful just
the way We are.

But She, too, is tired of
feeling out of place and
only beautiful to Everyone
but Her.

The last lock of Her hair falls onto
the tiles,
and I feel Her thin shoulders
hunch close together.

The lack of curls at Our neck
makes Her feel naked  where as I
finally feel
like this hair is Mine.

We are both uncertain now, but
My need pushes
Us further on this journey.
And even though She

is surely disappearing She’s
holding My hand.
So, I promise to stand watch
and record all of
the burials soon to come.

I am sorry it’s all gone I
say as She cries.
You were so beautiful Love You
were so perfect.
 

Sure, You had that little mole
on Your shoulder blade,
the occasional outbreak, those
nervous twitches,

and plenty more to hate like the
never straight teeth
that were not bad enough to
merit some braces
 

which would leave You wondering
if people noticed
the holes and cracks in Your smile You
could never hide.
 

You were so good at being
invisible that
people mistook Your silence for
unfeeling cold.
 

They thought because You were mute You
chose not to speak,
They thought because You could laugh that
You were happy.

They ignored Your empty eyes and
said You were strange.
They thought Your fear and self hate were
only a phase.
 

You clutch at the shortened strands, while
the man asks Us
“How do you feel about it?”
You take a step back

the lines of tension fading from
Your hands, My Face, as You
realize that You will never be
alone.

Others will no longer speak Your
name, see Your face,
touch Your skin, hear Your soft voice, but
neither will they

have a chance to call You names,
question Your choices,
call You and all of Your thoughts
nothing but mistakes.

Sleep now; I will hold Your hand. I will
steal Your pain.
No more crying, no more doubt. I will
hold Us up.

The man tilts his head, asking, “You
think I cut it too short?”
I, We, I, We, pause
really wondering.

We shake Our head as I feel You
pass into the
center of My chest, nestling
inside My rib cage

You sleep, safely dreaming, as I say
to the man,
“No, it’s wonderful. Thank you.” He
grins as I stand.

I pay him and walk outside
feeling Your breathing
match with My own as the wind
Gently pulls Our hair