I knew who I was supposed to be

The one you expected

The She who gave

The performance of her life

Measured in years

And doled out behind doors

In tears

In painted smiles

And in silenced fears.



Inside my soul there lives

A She

Whose mind is aching

To be free

From the

Ought and should

I could not climb

The heights too far

The depths not mine.



It was not hard to leave the mold

To loosen the hold

Like a butterfly emerging

From her cocoon

On a sunny spring-time afternoon

At first tied up

But then set free

From claustrophobia to




I swear to you

The black I wear

Does not expose

Instead, transposed

From who I am to what

You see

Not me

But something in between

Beauty and misery.



But do not pity take

Please, for my sake

Look beyond the grey

Below the fray

Of black lace tied up to my neck

My politeness spent

Ah, but riches still exist

In the naked soul

Heaving below.



My hands and feet

Grow what you wish

My skin your soil

To tend or tarnish

But beware—

The phrase is meant to scare—

I will not forget

The forgery you left

Inside my will to leap.



You, listen to me,

You creep.



The one who tied the ribbon

In my hair

The one who traded

Life for duty in my stare


If you dare

Beneath the roots you planted

To find that incidental


Grows from the foundation

Of who I am—

A place you cannot reach

Though you try to teach

Daily lessons from

Tattered leather

Beaten by regret and

By weather

Stormy but sunny

If you say it so.



You cannot say me

Slice or fillet me

What you can do,

My dear,

Is bring close your ear

For two words

Fluttering on wings

Surrounded by stings—


Don’t cry

If they be wet

Your wings

Cannot lift you and

You will not fly.



But you can try.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Gabriele Ahrens‘ piece, Schmetterbelle.