I am, the teacher says, just softness,
Hardness, dark and light.
My arm just happens to turn
Into the ladder. The skeleton behind me
Climbs the ladder as I dream in rapture.
The students draw knives
Inside my empty fist. I wear a feather
Mask and crouch. The students
Make me abstract when they wish.
I thank them for it, as it saves me
Pain. The teacher makes me
Lean against the ladder, looking
For an hour in the mirror, my worst fear.
I shake and sweat. My mouth takes
On a sneer that will not leave.
I spot with red. Skeletons
Turn gory, my face moves like lava,
Monsters in my pupils
Graze my lashes. My ugliness
Collapses out of art.
Their drawings make me beautiful