Staples: A Poem on Vulnerability

October 14, 2018


Peel apart

That liquid



The face-shaped




The thing that’s just slipping--


Just take it off.


Angrily fastened around my head

One strap and a buckle

Or is it staples now.

The mirror tells me

“It’s better like this”

"Hurt won’t hurt you here."

One mouth moves but the other one--


It just doesn’t


So separate from the smile

The muscles don’t move

The words--

They come from somewhere else

The mask, maybe

My heart, no


But it’s not like they’d like me afterwards.


And my mask

just keeps slipping.

In the middle of my bathroom

I stand

in front of my vanity

 This Reflection telling me a story

Of a child



Too worried of the monsters

underneath her bed

There is this broken child

in this Reflection

and then there is a man

with kindness in his eyes

tears on his cheeks

he puts his hands on the child’s shoulders and


tears still caught in his eyes

He lifts his hand

And from the corner of the little girl’s fake face

He begins to unstick

The half stuck


 Girl in the mirror

She becomes me again.


Raw skin pulsing

Reflection bleeding

The red fire scares me

“I’m here” He says

Whatever that means.

But I also feel

A chill

A shiver


The mask was tight and it stretched

But now

It’s my skin

Not my paper lungs


The man stops before the pain is finished

He asks--

He asks me to do the rest.

I look at myself

And my hands feel numb

My arms felt heavy

Did my heart stop?

Just like poison from a bottle

These words that leak--


I won’t be who they need anymore

What about what people think

Who would ever love me again


The scales of a snake.


I shut my eyes

And raise a hand to the piece of me still hanging

And tear back the rest.





With Love, 


Meliah Apa



















































































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