I need to ask you:
What are my flaws?
What are my lying-on-the-floor-sobbing hours, my grinding teeth or my worn-down shirts,
my anxious glances, my cracked hands, or my wrist scars?
What are my up-until-three-in-the-morning habits,
my cracked and swollen knuckles or my red and acne-covered freckles,
my dry lips, my facial hair, or my torn fingernails?
Are they unfinished journals, my clacking keyboard, or my dusty dog-eared books,
my crumbs and my silhouettes, my darkened stares, or the bags under my eyes,
my tired breaths that stagger and lessen, my layers upon layers of comfort,
wrapped around me like bandages trying to heal my wounded soul?
Is it love? Is it the empathy I try to sustain,
my poorly-written poems read aloud with my coffee-stained-throat,
my tired and my shambles, my inky pens and my cramped hands and my glazed eyes,
my mouse clicks or my water bottle caps, my shaking hands,
my lonely room with the blinds closed, or white noise?
Are they the words I can never choose well enough? Or the body I never chose?
Is it me? Is it all the above?
I want to ask you:
What do you see?
Do you see my ripped-up flesh, my compressed and bound chest, my gauged earlobes,
my shaved head, my too-black clothes, or my antisocial dread?
Do you see my hunched back, my up-until-three-in-the-morning eyes, my nose,
my fidgeting hands, my yellow teeth, or my wincing caffeine headaches?
What about my stuttering sentences, my blunders and my inaccuracies,
my late-to-class rushes, my sweating palms or my aching feet, my burdens and my fears,
or my awkward, nervous smiles, begging for approval, like a chained and forgotten dog?
Do you see a fag? Do you see someone who’s trying too hard,
a coward, a freak covered in oils and red ink and spilt energy drinks,
with dirty shoes and rubber bands, playing cards and Advil,
an irregularity, distracted, with scratches and a torn backpack?
Do you see who I am or who I want to be?
Do you know me? Do you wish you did?