Freaky Freak

by Janis Gaines

Inhale, exhale…
Breathy breath.
I know what’s coming.
“What happened to you?”
Said the passing stranger.

I’m careful not to spook.
“What — you never seen a ghosty ghost before?
With wide gapes and scrapes and scars clear through?”
You can’t understand why I don’t look like you.

Dead man walking, poor man hocking…
A thin apparition with flesh and empty pockets,
Bony bones and ragged edges.
My missing heart —
Missing parts sold for the price of peace.

You call me Freak! to my face
We both jolt back,
Repulsed by such gross form and social lack —
A soul so blacky black.

From the dark hollow of time
I feign a whisper, “It was not mine own doing,
But a sharp, sharky shark attack —
A swindler of swans and fair elegance.”

You gawk and stare and point
At my grotesque figure
And judge that I should have been born prettier,
Or able to swim in the deep —
At least put on some make up today
To cover all these holy holes
So you wouldn’t have to see.

I used to try to explain
And bend the long neck
Ready for the bite —
Let you play Master, lover,
Worthy of the shiny shine
And sacrifice of my good name.

I started to bow in Namaste
And send you on your way,
But the voice in me that would speak
This kind forgiveness
Choked mid-verse and coughed up
Fresh bloody blood.


© June 26, 2013
Asheville, NC