It started in high school

Friends told me to stop wearing shirts
that are too high up. Don’t hide
your skin, show off the change
in you and wear everything lace.

My closet was full of what I wasn’t
supposed to wear, so I stayed
the same and hoped I’d transform
by moonlight or something.

I woke up one morning with welts,
giant pulsing welts all over
my neck like I was stung
by a family of wasps.
But I’m not allergic to anything,
and wouldn’t I know myself
by now?

Can’t wear high collar shirts.
Nothing can touch
my neck
without the burning rash.

Out in the open, I am someone else
and my friends tell me to show off
those red welts
because they are my red welts.




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