Perfection

Dear Mama,

 

Growing up, you poured me a bowl of Perfection

For breakfast every morning.

Perfection had zero calories per cup and tasted delicious.

I always reminded myself that Perfection had zero calories because

I counted all of those little guys,

I wanted to make you proud.

 

You built me a ladder so that I could fulfill your prophecy,

The ladder had no end,

No final destination,

But I didn’t know it so I kept climbing,

Obsessing over when I would reach the top,

Even when my bones shattered,

And the wind tried to knock me down.

 

Mama,

Perfection is like outer-space,

I see pictures of it and read about it,

I can imagine it,

But I’ll never touch it.

If I do ever reach outer-space

I have to wear a mask and a suit because

Perfection is dangerous.

If I decide to take off my mask and let my skin finally touch Perfection

I die. But,

Then I was never perfect because I couldn’t survive.

 

You always tell me that Perfection

Has the body of an Angel,

And the hair of Aphrodite.

The brains of Dickinson,

And the smile of pearls.

 

But Mama,

Perfection is the little demon in my head telling me

I’m not enough.

Perfection is the monster that comes up behind me and whispers

“You’re not enough.”

Perfection stares at me in the mirror and screams

“You are not enough.”

 

Perfection slaps me,

Shoves me,

Strips me of everything I love and am proud of.

Perfection is never satisfied.

Even a perfect piece of paper can never reach Perfection:

Never light enough,

straight enough,

thin enough,

white enough,

clean enough

Soon you see the wrinkle or the speck of dust that isn’t supposed to be there.

That piece of paper was supposed to be perfect, but

It’s not.

It’s a disappointment to the entire paper community.

And if a perfect piece of paper can never be Perfect,

Mama, how am I supposed to be Perfect?

 

I can’t, mama,

Mama, I can’t.

 

I have heard the silent steps of Perfection creeping up behind me,

Trying to wrap her porcelain hands around my neck.

And sometimes I let her get a little too close.

But Mama,

I will shatter her hands.

And I will bleed

To paint my dreams with the blood on the side of every building

 

Perfection will no longer haunt me.

I will bleed,

But I will finally be alive.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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