A Memory Or Two

He looks in the mirror

Gazing at the false reflection

The pigtails hanging down his shoulders

Golden-blond and strung with ribbons

His mother dressed him up that day

Insisting the dress was the perfect attire

Though his eyes filled with tears

As he scuffed the toes 

Of his patent-leather shoes

The socks with the frills he despised

Dressed up for his own funeral

He wishes his mom could see

Her son in those watery blue eyes.

She stands outside the bathroom doors

Eyes flitting back and forth like mad

Pondering how she passed today

Her loose-fitting jeans and T-shirt

Making the curves of her hips disappear

She toys with the short hair by her ear

Her fingernails bitten to the quick

Her body freezes as one door swings open

A young woman steps out and sees her

“Are you going in?” she asks politely

A sweeping gesture to the stalls inside.

They open their closet doors

Tempers flaring as they notice

The clothes their family members snuck in

Arguing that it’s just a phase

Hand-me-downs made for the wrong body

Confusion rings out

In the form of a blue satin blouse

Birthday cards with the wrong name

Lining their bedroom walls

Patterns of butterflies and pink envelopes

Mocking them like a bad joke.

Their bedspread isn’t stripes of gray

But magentas and sky-blue 

A table of makeup products sits

With dust collected on the surface

Shoes they’d never wear piled up

The patent-leather no longer shiny.

Ribbons locked away in a cardboard box

Their obnoxious bras replaced with binders

Their bedding a deep burgundy red

Their walls stripped of the old

Birthday cards replaced with drawings and awards

Their life slowly changing around them

They don’t hide from the mirror anymore.


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