I was told this is what I had to do
So my eyes seek a shape, pattern – fixation
Numb the mind
Climb inside the dark circle of the paneling
Twist into the loops & swirls of the curtain
Trace the maze of the tiles on the floor
It will all be done soon
This is what I was told I should do
That body isn’t mine
But I lug it around
And with it a persona to puppet
Who was I with her?
How did I behave around them?
No one really knew…me
I can’t say hello to you of five years ago.
I took this skin out & we spoke words that had meaning then, maybe
I don’t remember them now
How forgetful, unthoughtful, you’ll think
Who was I? How much of me did you really see?
Better to burn the past than pick through splinters
I suppose this life is akin to living in a suitcase
Taking out this being, this flesh to engage
A misfit to the mind
Desperate to love, but moments of love felt like terror as well
Numb the mind
Find a shape
And if I were to change this skin
Receive stitches and sutures to be a more fitting form
You might be perplexed
You might think it a joke
Those who felt closest
May just deny, grow angry, grow sad
Call on the name of ghosts now gone
But a puppeteer’s arms grow heavy & sore
After half a lifetime of shows
And once the rubble of the mind is cleared
The choice must be made to live life’s remainder
In a performance for others
Or to stop staring at patterns
Ethan Jacob O’Nan is a trans man living in North Carolina, he has a wife and 2 children. Ethan only dabbles in writing these days. His whole life has led to the last few years fully understanding what to do to make him feel on the outside like he has always been on the inside. The older brother of EIC David L O’Nan, Ethan is a business owner along with his wife Kristi. Ethan enjoys 80’s music, art, crafting, making soap, & comedy.
photo by Scott Webb (unsplash)