Untitled Poem

by Maddee Ryan

I painted my face for you—

wake up & realign your daily mask: my eyes peel off my skin flakes my mouth grows my freckles disappear but you’ll hold my hand in public now you’ll allow my artificial lips to stain yours my hands do no sweat I am a lady I am porcelain and you are the amateur art student. soft, malleable, delicate, prepared for the decimation that occurs in the kiln: I allow your hot familiar hands to shape me, for I am unprepared for the brutality of this pulsating world. this kidnapped vigor does not belong to me; I lack a lust for life.

someone built me out of bullets
someone pulled me together and placed me apart
someone giggled next to you and you knelt, genuflecting, preparing for knighthood, the hands I love folded in deep prayer but your lined mouth is on her stomach her hands are on your shoulders her back is arched
you have forgotten your art for another piece, a project with a pulse and, unconsciously branding me with jealousy, you cause the cracks growing in my insipid inner layers to spread and spread and spread until I am a museum of brokenness, a maze outlined by fragments

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