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