Comments (0) Issue 2, Poetry, Writing


By Charlotte Koch


I think the beginning of it all was the pulling.

The careful process of latching on,

prying that infinitesimal piece of yourself

from your own body,

to gain control of your thoughts,

to go blank for a while.


I can remember seeing myself for the first time,

the horror as my already

harsh features became bare and alien.

These pieces I had torn away

would not grow back, and I would suffer

their bitter and vain consequences.


I could never cry or sweat, for fear of

losing my face,

having it melt right off my skull.

I took those feelings of fear and

vulnerability and I squeezed them

so hard into myself,

only to have them bubble to the surface

hours later. Witch’s cauldron cursing me

to endless years of self-loathing.


The sweet, blissful violence against oneself

contorted and silent for hours,

fingers pinched and swollen.

So many abuses for what?

A small thrill, a sense of contentment? Of control?

How fleeting, only to wake up and see that

monster who has grown to be you staring

back in the mirror.


I find myself stumbling into a CVS,

false halo from the fluorescent lights

shining into my unprotected eyes.

My journey takes me to the makeup aisle,

the beautiful women I will never be glaring back

from their glossy cages.


I’m only here to hide my little monster,

my character defect,

the falling action of my fruitless climax.

I defend myself with the powders and sticks

other women use to show their value.


So I regain my dignity in slow steps.

Try not to look too hard or long

at your reflection.

Leave the face alone, never rip

away anything that won’t come back.

Be a good girl and take your

hate and anxiety out on other people.

Show no fear for your face is a mask.

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