"You hung in the closet, was Mom's stock response"
You hung in the closet, was Mom’s stock response
when asked where I was right before I was born.
As a child, I’d lay Upside down from our couch
with the rose-colored dots (we had curtains to match)—
My hair brushed the carpet, blood rushed to my head
I’d squint at our closet and dream of inside.
Last week I went home for the first time in years;
I crept in the closet and locked up the door.
The top part I saw was a bit of a mess—
too-tight winter coats and our old photo books,
a Sit and Spin saved from a Christmas before
and some discarded ornaments crammed in the back.
I managed to dodge the hard items within
and was able to rest, floating free in that space.
I draped me across two spare hangers in back. They
stuck quick to my neck and my feet skimmed the floor.
Then a Voice: Come on out! See this Man for yourself, Mom sent in with a shout
to the place I was at
and I jumped. (Voices drift
up the stairs in that house.
I quick felt for the door to confirm it was locked.)
I swear I didn't care to go see that Man there
for myself (or for her or for anyone else)—
They knew I had a girl back at school where I’d been.
Here I’m theirs and they don’t want to think of it yet.
So I’m holding my breath—
my nails turn a faint blue—
no—that’s all in my head and I want to be hurt.
My nails are pink, lips are pink, skin’s a fine hue—
I’m a nice normal girl, and I’ve been doing well.
I stop to adjust the hard hangers that catch
at my shoulders and neck and She hollers again.
There’s an edge to the call: (I’m not here, I’m not here—
I think I am asleep, maybe she’ll turn around)
The last time was fucked and I can’t cry enough—
They can never keep quiet and
Oh Christ it’s tough. His Body coughed twice and it made me throw up
so we stopped for a bit and I took a quick nap.
Head dreamt a sweet dream filled with sage and sweet cream and
I woke with a start to my door being shut.
—I wanted to scream or to laugh or to die
but I kept wide my eyes and looked long at my legs
and I thought of my head and my heart and my girl.
Juliette Faraone is a writer and critic from the sometimes-great state of Indiana. Her habits include petting cats, watching clips from old musicals on Youtube, and trying to figure out if she loves or loathes Lars von Trier. In 2016, Juliette served as editorial assistant at Ms. Magazine in Los Angeles and is currently working on her MA in Cinema Studies and Dramatic Writing at SCAD. She is the founder and editor of CNCPT/LSBN, and her writings on women and film can be found at http://juliettefaraone.com.