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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.

 

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