Who Am I?
January 12, 2020
From the pages of Issue 5: Black + White
By Lynne Schmidt | @lynn_e_schmidt
I have stared in mirrors
in lake reflections,
in department store windows
hoping to see what you see.
Am I the girl wearing these jeans?
But what then, about the scar on my arm—
The one I cut out with a razor blade
because my apartment lost heat
and the pipes burst
and it turned out my sister was right,
I am useless.
I am a child.
I will never grow up.
My therapist told me I should have gotten stitches,
should have gotten professional help,
should have stopped drinking,
but it's the only thing I retained from childhood.
Not the toys, fake make-up, stuffed animals,
but how drinks solve problems.
And so I roll over in bed,
hoping your skin is more like
moss on the roots of a tree,
hoping to god that you can fill me,
make me into the girl everyone else sees.
But you don't.
So I find another
and another after that.
Like eating Tic Tacs that refuse to freshen my breath.
Because the only time I recognize my face,
is when I see the reflection in a broken picture frame,
where the photograph smiles back.
Smiling so hard,
because in small moments
happiness comes easier.
There are twenty six seconds a day
where depression doesn't settle into bones.
And someone managed to take a picture.
And the floor broke the frame.
A flawless inside/perfect,
But you are not moss.
And I am not a tree.
So when you put your clothes back on,
I'm still looking for traces of me.