Sunday, September 15, 2013

Frankengirl

There were thieves in the delivery room--
they stole my face.
Later, in the doctors' lounge,
my mother's obstetrician lit up a Parliament,
waved his hand and claimed that the wind must have done it.

The wind, emboldened,
blew through my head where my face should have been.
"Where is your heart?
"Hand it over," it crooned, as if it were a demented nanny.
I hid inside nightmares
until the room got too thickly blue for visitors.

Soon enough, my mother ditched the damned neighbors and attacked.
I rolled myself into a ball and kicked myself away,
though the rigged tilt of that house always brought me back.
I went through faces like a deck of cards,
all of them wrong,
all of them trailing shame like black kites.
I liked to play Fire,
and soon we went through addresses just as quickly.

So now you ask me, all these years later,
"Is this your face?"
It is a face.
Why don't you kiss me and find out?
If there is a cave-in, just stay where you are and breathe shallowly;
You may be all right, 
because I only have so many matches,
and there is no telling if the wind will whip all the way down there
to the scream-place where I left my jagged mirror shards 
lined up and waiting like euthanized dolls.
_______

For the Real Toads mini-challenge. Art by Kathryn Dyche Dechairo  

27 comments:

hedgewitch said...

Everything about this is scalding good--the contrast between the speaker and the attackers disguised as helpers, the playing Fire--the rigged tilt (!) the euthanized mirror-glass dolls-- all just masterful, Shay. There's not a word in it that rings false or weak, and every line is a gut punch. One of your best, than which there is nothing better.

TexWisGirl said...

so much pain... my favorite lines:

I rolled myself into a ball and kicked myself away,
though the rigged tilt of that house always brought me back.

Grace said...

I like the dramatic opening lines, thieves stealing your face ~ The use of the wind, asking for your heart, and using faces like a deck of cards are stellar for me ~ For me, it was searching for one's identity or soul ~ Potent write Shay ~ Thanks for participating in Sunday's Challenge and wishing you happy week ahead ~

Sioux said...

Those last three lines--Wow!

Mama Zen said...

This is shocking and disturbing and beautiful.

Kathryn said...

Wow, so powerful, moving and deep. Loved every word of it. It more than spoke to me, it screamed at me. Amazing.

Cloudia said...

Shocking
in it's excellence.

Not a word out of


Place.

Great momentum and energy and punch!

Chilling, identifiable....

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3
> < } } ( ° >

Helen said...

Shay, you have an amazing way of bringing characters front and center, demanding our full attention .. must not, cannot be ignored ~~~ last six lines are unbelievable.

LaTonya Baldwin said...

As already said, your work/characters demand our attention. So much pain and defiance. Well done.

Susan said...

"Is this your face?"
It is a face.
Why don't you kiss me and find out?

Truly! If frogs and sleeping beauties and trolls came with back stories, few would take the chance. This tight story offers the dare and the danger. Beautifully rendered.

HermanTurnip said...

Geez...sounds like you plucked this from one of my dreams. Such dramatic imagery. I'll need to re-read this piece to come to grips with how I feel about it. Nicely done!

Other Mary said...

That is some dark, shocking shit! Amazing Shay - from the opening lines to those last five:

You may be all right,
because I only have so many matches,
and there is no telling if the wind will whip all the way down there
to the scream-place where I left my jagged mirror shards
lined up and waiting like euthanized dolls.

Isadora Gruye said...

hmmm: there are layers here I am not sure I want to peel away and investigate, and I think that may be the reasoning behind this piece as well. It's well written and flows well, but rather distirbing: in a good way that will resonate with me. The thieving wind back for more, the tilting house which ensures our narrator cannot escape, the whole concept of missing a face and an identity is explored rather well here! Viva la and thanks for sharing this!

Ella said...

Ouch on many levels-I too want to know more. The lost identity so haunting and powerful. I'd say you nailed it and the three elements come through loud and clear!

grapeling said...

as you noted elsewhere, there may be some slight discomfort

Kay L. Davies said...

OMG, Shay, so much here, and then the last stanza:
"there is no telling if the wind will whip all the way down there to the scream-place"
This poem makes me gasp for breath.
K

Daryl said...

WOWZA ... such a contrast to the other day ... no giggles here

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is very potent, if we think how much we link up identity with our faces. A broken or missing face is deeply psychological, and you take us down uncertain pathways (and cave-ins) with intrepid boldness.

G-Man said...

Parliaments had those crazy recessed filters for a smooth and mild taste, if she wasn't caught up in all that goodness, this might not have happenned!

Nicely written Shay...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I really heard and felt this poem, Shay. It comes from the deepest place and is riveting to read. Like Hedge said, one of your best and there just isnt any better than that.

Shawna said...

The ending blew my face off, particularly the last three lines.

I also love Stanza 2 and this line:

"I rolled myself into a ball and kicked myself away"

In this line toward the end, you left the "e" off the end of "breathe": "If there is a cave-in, just stay where you are and breath shallowly"

wkkortas said...

The wise and wonderful G has hit on the complexity of this piece. It could have easily been pawned off into some Ugly Duckling redux or updated Cinderella, but this piece refuses to play simple black-and-white games. There is a lot of gray here, as in life its ownself. Awfully fine work.

gabrielle said...

Here is a story that has been waiting untold millennia to be told, a silent scream that has found a voice.

Shay, you write with such wry accuracy about the relentless lies and betrayals endured.

So now you ask me, all these years later,
"Is this your face?"
It is a face.

Miraculous!

Susie Clevenger said...

I rolled myself into a ball and kicked myself away...powerful line! It hits me right in my inner child who did so much to escape the nightmare world she was exposed to...

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

A very powerful poem. I too like, "I rolled myself into a ball and kicked myself away,
though the rigged tilt of that house always brought me back."

Sara said...

This is a powerful write. I went back to the challenge and looked at the beautiful art of Kathryn Dyche Dechairo. It doesn't surprise the one you chose to write about.

It makes me think of many times we do actually change our faces. I don't physically, but emotionally we change the faces we show and sometimes they do feel as stolen.

Carol Steel said...

This is powerful, strong, shivers with resonance and truth. I like best:
Where is your heart?

I liked to play with Fire

the scream-place (wonderful)

the rigged tilt of that house always brought me back...amazing image

Your metaphors blow me away.