once, i spent each day tracing my face onto the page. nothing changed
but my perception of self. the angle of my jaw, the shape of my eye,
the curve and spike of my hair. i was a child, though i didn’t know it then.
always, i’ve wanted to be more. always, my eyes have been stuck looking
back. i used the flat side of my pencil to shade. my grip was so tight i’d make
myself sore from creation. i’m sure i still have that month tucked away somewhere.
but i don’t reach for it. i’ve stopped searching for mementos. the past is not
laid to rest but it has been buried. i’m not in mourning but i do grieve my small selves.
the bounce of my cheek, the rust in my throat, every piece of me i cut down
in order to keep living. i’ve never been as alone as i felt. there are things i know
to be true and there are things i feel stronger than reality. i believed then as i do
now that emotion is a force to bend at will, to be felt or discarded. if the colors
i see are not the colors you see, how will we know? if my eyes are to be trusted
who can i depend on? if memory can smear from my touch what is it that comes
away on my fingers afterward? charcoal, oil pastel, lead, sediment, paint?
everyone wants me to talk to the past but the truth is they won’t hear me.
i’m not even talking about logic or reality but i remember then, i remember
who i was and who i would listen to and it was never me, i never knew
better. the only voice i’d follow is that of cruelty inside me. i’m sure i’ll grow
though i don’t know i’ll grow out of it. i paint now. i spoiled my last drawing
i made and gave up. an accident is only as meaningful as the damage that results.
some people use coffee as paint. i cry over every small spill. if i close my eyes i can
remember the acrid scent of rubber cement. i still don’t know my own face. i’ve given up trying to find out what i look like, or who i am. i keep my art in a rainbow craft box.
on one side, rope. on the other, gold. inside, everything i don’t know how to say.
BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in FOLIO, Figure 1, and The Offing, among others. they are a poetry reader for Capsule Stories. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co