you didn’t think of the rough edges | a poem in disguise

I was a girl

and you took something from me

that belonged to a woman


I looked at myself in the mirror

and learned how to see

what you wanted me to become


I didn’t sound like myself

in your vicinity

and I thought that my acts of self-betrayal

were a confirmation of who I was


and I looked at photographs of myself

and thought

is there even one picture in existence

that actually reveals who I am


photographs hid

photographs carved

photographs pretended

photographs put together

the dead unseen


I wonder whether photography

can bring to the surface what you were thinking


you stared at me

and I asked myself

who am I


when you spoke

I made myself


I made myself disappear

within my body

still standing

halfway vacant

one touch and I’d fall apart


you loved the power that leaked out of my body

you gorged on it

and forgot that it was foreign matter


who is this man whose absence is as terrifying as his presence


you observed me

and always wanted me to be something else

always the opposite of what I was

always different

but you were never precise

you never knew what you were talking about

I would never become a person

I’d always remain a slow-hardening pecked at unfinished clump of clay

and somehow

in a way

you wouldn’t dare to come near me

with your hands

photograph © Laura Gentile 2021 | Instagram: @melpomenepaintings

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