Émilienne: Incorporating Leather

I can’t remember how I grew into this body of a woman.

I felt I could never do it justice, that I would never be ready to take

Everything on, everything that dripped down onto me, all the guilt

And shame and stigmata, from skin to skin, alienated, rejuvenated.

Why did nobody cure it or set it afire, these inherited foul patterns?

Why was the matter of inhabiting those identities a tongue-tied contract?


I was born with my own expression in my face and my mouth.

I went to school to verbalise my own thoughts and desires.

Then I slowly entered this body and everything seemed super-imposed

And predetermined, fake and man-made, constricted, kept in check.

We were incompatible, I lost track of my own identity, artifice made me collapse.

And I recognised the same agony I rejected in my mother’s womb.


“Young Woman in Hat” by József Rippl-Rónai (1861-1927)


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