Jane

“Congratulations Mamn.
She is a beautiful young girl.
She will be called Jane 727,690,843.”

Brown locks in frenzied curls
Frame a round face
Diamonds shoot from dark brown eyes
A giggle surpasses rose lips

A first laugh that will somewhere transform into a fairy
But the nurse pressed a soft finger on those rose lips
And ordered, “shhh babies are to be seen not heard”

Jane 72,769,084s lips grew slightly paler
Like a business man’s shoes
Worn away shine
Luminescence gone so soon

When brought home
A world of discovery was a sliding glass door
But she left smudges on the transparent panes
And her mother pried her away
And rubbed off Jane 7,276,908s delicate fingerprints

She discovered an old box set of water colors
And dove into the worlds they could create
Submerged in imagination on paper
But paper can be burned
So when her father found the daydreams in color
On the backs of her old school papers
He ignited them
Jane 727,690 watched her creations turn to ash

When she went to school the other girls laughed at her wild curls
Their jaunty cries of unacceptance and mockery
Took residence in her lush ringlets
And that night Jane 72,769
Burnt the tips of her ears
And the homes of her opprobrium
Flattening the spirals
Her hair became as straight
As her poker face mask

Only removed when she genuinely smiled
Pleased by numbers on notebook paper
Equations that made sense when her life did not
But when her teachers noticed how well she did
They removed arithmetic from Jane 7,276s schedule
Because normal girls don’t understand complicated polynomials.

She met a boy who could show her affection
Ever so absent before
He would hold her hand and keep her warm
But when their eyes met his lips curled down
Brown eyes are uninteresting
So Jane 727 got contacts that formed oceans
They blocked the diamonds from escaping
And formed an ozone layer, halting their radiation.

At night she found she could escape
Into landscapes painted with words
Endless adventures at her fingertips
She lived the free lives of characters
As if they weren’t trapped on a page
Just like her
But her father came in and turned off the light
He took away her books and told Jane 72
“Proper girls don’t read”

“Proper girls find a man to take care of them
They get married.”
She could care for herself
She didn’t need a puppeteer as she was a marionette broken free
But she stuffed into a white dress
Jane 7 tied back on the strings
And said “I do”

A forced smile because brides are supposed to be happy
A forced smile every time he took care of her by
Pulling on the strings
A forced smile every time his orders summoned her actions
And over time strings formed chains
And when she tried to shatter them
She ended up shattering herself

Everyone that knew her
Gathered around
Tears welled and dripping onto black cloth
And they all asked
“What happened to Jane?”

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