Head of a Girl

Vapours of cold air rested on her skin.

She felt small, looked at, judged.


Alone, nonetheless.

She hid her face in her hands.


Assembling the chaos in her gut.

To cry and to laugh and to unravel.


Inside of her everything moves,

But never seems to change into something concrete.


Words from others, outside impressions

Try to sneak their way in, their goal is her own voice.


That she herself says it, thinks it,

That she is worthless and insignificant.


That she won’t fit her own form,

That she is a solitary outburst, out of proportion, a beast.


She remembers the key-sentences all too well.

The memory training, dressage, words and their endless weight and echoes.


Everything makes her cry and question where she stands.

She folds her own hands together to sense her solitude.


Her pain is her own, the turmoil breathed in and out,

Migrating across all her body parts in dysfunction,


In search of unison, harmony, silence.

She looks at her feet and thinks: they haven’t grown, they still


Belong to a kid. Have I learned how to walk and move?

In my very own body, what to eat, in my very own body?


Have I absorbed what to think, what to say, ingested everything

That has been brought close to my mouth?


Had it been forced open with an empty promise?

Is that the premise of my own body? Its significance?


Its wordlessness, its swallowing faculties,

Hands waving in thought, spitting mythology.


Don’t touch my face.

Don’t shove it in your directions.


Everything natural I have lost.

Whilst you clothed me in layers and layers of etiquette and amnesia.


And you always complain, it’s never good enough, the product, me.

You keep re-adjusting, staring, scrutinising, imperfect, on and on.


You brought me into a room with a hundred walls and kept me there

To form my own image.


You could have just let me grow into myself, without confinement and

Your unsuitable advertising pillars and blenders.


You put an object in front of me and told me

“Now, orientate yourself”, my possibilities have an end indeed.


I am not modelled after your perceptions.

I’m not yours to fold and envelop.


And as I sit across from you, entering a possible dialogue,

You sit still, irritated, and I realise that everything about you,


Everything that you dislike about yourself but never get rid of,

You shove onto my face, and want me to carry it around.


You could say that I’m old enough now to contradict you.

I think I am finally young enough to do so with enough perpetuity.


“Contemplation” by Alexei Harlamov (1840-1925)



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