Birthmarks

Night and day

Dappled

Figures on my face don’t matter

I grin and bear it

And hide my head from aggressors

Even if they live within my history

And my hands can’t block their feints

Highways built through my place

Like the wrinkles that deepen on my face

Telling quiet stories of how badly I’ve chosen to respond to life’s games

Braille of tired muscles

In another setting I’d be a different face in the crowd, maddening

Depicted by artists in many styles of self-loathing seeking redemption

Re-arrange me like a block puzzle

I go limp like you always wanted from your perfect canvass

A hole to drip paint spatter down so it won’t stain your rug

After all it’s new

My hands are gnarled from touching too many nerves

My face stained with strange fingertips

From all the windows I’ve peered through

Passing trains I’ve never entered

I think of coal as I stand on the platform waiting for a transition

To take me away from myself

All the faces stare out

I pick one

Blonde

And bury its head in the mud

So the rain falling on me won’t feel so bad

I wrote another elegy on a legal pad

And drew my face underneath with trembling hand

Like a witness picking out a felon

On both sides of the glass the glass is stained

Chipped and scratched

But the glass is thick and just sits there

Not solid

Not liquid

Just there for others to look at themselves through

Amorphous

Gaining marks of recognition