I will be Agate, with her turquoise glasses
and smile like a broken picket fence that needs new paint,
whose mom sends her to school with cosmic brownies
and an apple cherry juice box. She arrives for the day
wrapped in Daddy’s arms and eagerly waits to go Home again.
I will be Carley, with her shiny hair
and bright pink fingernails, glittering in the sunshine
of our school playground. She is Master of the Monkey Bars;
boys try to look up her dress as she swings across,
and I don’t know why, but they keep on looking anyway.
I will be Rachel, with her Ken doll and Barbies
and green backpack so bright it hurts my eyes to look at.
She plays with Mabel, Gwen, and Denise, and sometimes,
their dolls do naughty things when Teacher isn’t looking.
She knows where babies come from, and everyone asks to sit by her.
But I am me, with my matted red hair
and a sunset, fading into dusk, streaked across my arms and legs.
I hide at the back of the class because Teacher won’t stop
asking about Daddy, and Carley wants to know why
my eye looks gross and why my lip is so fat, but I can’t tell her
And I am me, with my empty bedroom
and doll whose head is cracked like mine and whose arms and legs
skew apart and whose body is thin in the middle
where I hold onto her for dear life. I am the canvas of my daddy’s art,
but he only paints in amethyst, sapphire, and onyx.
I am his masterpiece, but I am so tired of being painted.