Costumes (Poem)

When I was little
Barely babbling
At an age before
I could possibly have
A care in the world
My parents said we went
To Prince Edward Island
On a family trip
To see Anne of Green Gables’ house
Where we dressed up
In button down blouses
Under overalls dresses
With straw hats
Our faces dotted with freckles
And I, barely babbling,
Knew something wasn’t right.
“It was so cute,”
My mother reminisced,
“You looked in the mirror
And cried uncontrollably,
Because you didn’t recognize yourself,”
My father agreed,
Smiling at the amusing thought
Of his baby girl
Dressed in a costume
Donning an over-sized wig
Decked out with makeup
Pretending to be
Someone she’s not.
Now I look in the mirror
And I see my reflection
And I want to cry
Because I feel
Like the little girl in a costume
Except now
They wouldn’t think it’s cute.
They kept the costume on
Just long enough for all of us
To hold it together
And smile long enough
To snap a family shot.
Only after then
Did they take it off.
They still talk
About how cute it was.
It’s over two decades later
And now
I look in the mirror
And wonder
What costume will I have to wear
To please who
And to impress who?
And I still cry
But this time
They can’t help me
Take it off.
When I try to express
What’s eating me up
I’m still
Barely babbling
Because I wish
I was back at a time
Where I couldn’t possibly have
A care in the world.

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