I remember dressing up
as Salvador Dali
for a Carnival parade at school
somewhere between 2009
and the end of my teenage years.
My young face, rounder
than it is today, reflecting in
the mirror of the girls bathroom
as I was drawing the famous moustache,
ignoring the pounding heart and the shaky hands.
My shoulders, slightly broader in the shirt and jacket
borrowed from my grand father’s closet.
I remember how everybody laughed at my costume
and how I didn’t. The way the tie felt around my neck
and how even that day they still used the word girl.
A year ago, lifting the collar of my shirt
with tears in my eyes to put on my first
ever bow tie, I met the eyes of
my reflection in the mirror again.
Handsome, daring and alive.
Have you ever bumped into a childhood friend
and wondered if you should introduce
yourself or if they remembered you
as much as you remembered them ?
Coming out feels like that sometimes.
My grandfather has been dead
for seven years now
and I wonder if
my grandmother has kept
some of his clothes.
Jo Matsaeff (they/them) is a neurodivergent queer teacher based in France. Their work focuses on mental health, trauma and queerness. They can be found at their local open mic or virtually hanging out with their international poet friends wishing for a day when a magical tunnel will bring them all together.