Rachel Marsom-Richmond, 04/12

Cleft Palate

Born with a split lip, teeth
slid to the side, leaving
a perfect hole she could stick
her tongue through. Her nose
slumped like a week-old
jack-o-lantern, unable
to collapse completely.

When she was younger,
the kids would chant
“Freakshow” to the beat
of the bus stops, hushing
as the wheels slowed.
She learned to remove
bits of gum and trash
from her hair without
looking in a mirror.

She sat on the stool in a paper gown,
as the surgeon drew on her face
with a Sharpie.  He said,

“You can never be perfect.
You can be better.”

She let herself forgive them
with the first slice of the knife.

Promote. Poetry.
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