I am a white middle-aged woman.
Actually, I am beyond middle-
aged, but my mind is convinced I am
still powerful & fast, even as
I stagger to the couch, arms windmilling.
I am a white woman who doesn’t
feel safe with white people, who doesn’t
feel safe with men, who doesn’t feel safe.
My lips are thin as a gash, my eyes
anime-large, and lashed as thickly
as if they are fake. Who needs makeup?
My finger oozes, aches (papercut?
dry skin?), and I’m trying to burn it
closed on the computer’s battery,
the same computer through which you would
see me if I had not covered up
the bright untrustworthy camera.
My hair was brown, then streaked with gray, then
shimmering with ultramarine, with
turquoise, bubblegum pink, then fading,
and now like an animated GIF,
rotating from color to color.
My hair was buzzcut, then mid-thigh, then
decades of wave-like rhythm (pulsing
from my earlobe to nape, down & back,
the tidepool of my neck teasing, hiding,
finally shrinking above my ears,
as if a drought shrivels me dry from
within). I glitter with salt, cover
my glowing hair with hats, one after
another; I wear blankets as if
they are robes, furs, rainbows of silk, chains.
I shiver inside my dreams. Inside
my thick boot a scream carves itself through
my foot. I have a howler monkey
body (toes pulled to nose, hips cracking
& dislocating & cracking back
into place); my elbow drops below
my waist, bending at the same crumbling
hip joint; fingertips resting below
the crackling kneecap. I used to be
twig thin, but post-pandemic I have
an orangutan belly, swollen,
& howling, firehands beating my chest.