I Don’t Recognize Myself in Old Photographs Anymore

by Rebecca Brown

like i see the person i was and sometimes it takes me a minute
to realize that was me sometimes i am afraid that i am
losing some part of myself like i think there will always
be a part of me that wants to be my father’s only daughter,
that wants my father to be proud of me

i mean, i spent so many years looking in the mirror and not
recognizing myself and maybe it’s a small price to pay
this forgetting

once i thought i was a girl with a bouncing ponytail
like a cheerleader in a teen romcom who is always upbeat
except sometimes when she’s not
who ends up with a guy at the end
not the main girl and the main guy
but the sidekick the best friend
the one who says a few funny things
and stays happy the whole time
i thought i was the one who was going to be happy

i don’t see myself in those movies anymore
or in mostly any movie
but i’m not afraid of the mirror like i was
some days i feel like my whole body is a bruise
i am pressing and pressing
to see how long i can stand it
how long until it all bursts

there is something that i am afraid of
that more than my name will be re-written
that i am re-writing whole body
and first i have to erase

i think it is called a dead name because something in me is going to die
i still don’t know how to grieve it

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