she draws up her
pulls on cloak and hood.
cataloguing a long list
of disapprovers. they all
have one thing in common:
when pressed, they find
something to change
she makes her list,
checks it over.
no need to add spelling and grammar,
to her list of repairable traits.
she inlays a rule
of thirty-three. this, she once read
is how long it takes to
implement a change.
she breaks it down: seventeen traits.
one change begun
every second day.
she’ll be done by the year’s end.
she works at it,
three months, then seven, then
she has completed her list
and when she looks in the mirror
she barely recognizes herself.
she runs out, reveals a grocery-list
of alterations. people approve, because now
she is how they want her to be –
but she isn’t, because now
there’s a new list of things for the
disapprovers to feed on. she crumples the list,
burns it unceremoniously
and shuts herself away.
she will never be what they want her to be.