Pandora's box

My soul is trapped inside a barbed wire box

and I cannot breathe

The skulls in the closet of the back of my mind sneering

I feel like a stranger trapped inside my own skin

and when it comes to belonging I am not akin.


My thoughts are dirty

and my mouth is a zipper

say nothing,

I don't belong.

Like the last autumn leaf,

my hand trembles

I want to hold her hand but

what if the Cheshire-cat eyes of the paper people see

And it makes me not want to be me and

Sometimes I have to suppress a scream

because I'm choking inside of this box.


Their looks spit on me like acid--

my skin burns

My best friend tells me to leave the room

because she is uncomfortable getting dressed in front of me

The girls in class whisper snake hisses

and my skin curls


I am sorry.


Censorship can lead to one's insanity

with replies of "Someone,"

to questions of "Who do you like?"

in crystallizing fear of revealing your true self

must use gender-neutral pronouns

must zip up the lewd lips

must keep everything to myself

say nothing.


my identity is encased behind a prickly piercing fence

where nothing lies but a phantom attached to pompous puppet strings

and underlies my raw self clawing to the surface

screaming for release from this prison of dark secrets

no wonder closets seem so claustrophobic.


my voice is trapped behind my zipper mouth

and I still don't know what this life is all about

But I can't help but become enraged

because why must my soul be locked in a cage

and I don't know why the caged bird sings


 Filtering your true colors to appease others is exhausting--

I tell you, it's exhausting

it's exhausting.

the Bob Ewells accuse me of leering at their daughters during gym class

when I was only trying to find my red sneakers

I want my Boo Radley to save me from the Arsenic rumors and cyanide looks

I need my Atticus Finch to defend me and tell all the pestilent paper people that I mean no harm.


I am only trying to burst my soul free

from this barbed wire box

but I am afraid

I am just being me.

And I apologize but this just might be my destiny

and I want to cut all the wires and finally be free

Rip off the zipper

This is my American Dream.


Please don't break my wings

when I just learned how to fly


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