not this body, no. not this thin un-shape of a child
folded up like a switchblade, so close against the
crest of my neck. not these hairs standing up on
your skin, made upright by the charge between the
fizzing sky and ground. too small, too delicate,
too tense with their aching joints; i want to be
unwound, unspooled, snipped out of the
background and interrogated under bleeding
colour. there are so many ways to peel: grating the
skin off of a core, uncapping a matryoshka doll,
doffing a jacket when spring widows winter. there
are so many ways to unmask and expose, like
stripping the rind off of an orange.
you call me, late one night, while i am at the
payphone. i hear the rattling coin in the slot, then
your static-mouth voice. you croon, i do not. the
light tinges me sodium-orange, makes my veins
go green. oh God.
at night i nest in bathtubs, darkened so that i may
not bear witness to myself, and scrub my skin
clean with cut fingernails. in the mornings, i
smudge off the shell of an egg and press the damp
white to my lips. i imagine my body in mirrors,
singing like the edge of a glass cup, a jagged
linoleum hole where flesh has been allowed to
poke through, the mortar scraping at my nerves.
who is to say that i am not simply outgrowing this
frame the way a Josephine climbs out of its trellis?
who is to say i will not escape these bars to rasp at
the ground, that i am not still becoming?
Anne Fu is a non-binary teenager from somewhere in southern Ontario. They enjoy showing empathy to small insects and have been published a couple of times before.