“Who, you!?” She exclaimed with a gasp,
After I told her, I too, felt out of place
Under watchful gazes in the tattoo parlor
People seemingly made of other stuff.
“But you’re so… you know, cool!”
I wondered when, this face had become seen as such.
The face kept to the sidelines as the other children played.
The face that hid behind backboards as not to draw notice
With tear-stained cheeks
They’d taunt, when I’d ask to play
They would place gum in my hair
Hurling insults just to watch me squirm
Scapegoated, I’d hide to avoid clenched fists.
Yes, me, but they made my skin like iron.
My wit fast
My tongue sharp, my eyes sharper
I emerged from the darkness, appearing as thunder.
With a heart trembling like rain.
But it worked.
Boots loud and echoing, slamming thunderbolts
Now announce my presence, boldly
But rejection still stings
And I too, quail sometimes, out of place
In a world, one step away from cruelty, one step away from grace.
You may not see it, but yes, me. Me too.
This person you see in front of you
Is not much different from you
What we find acceptable is just perception
Changing with culture, time, and person.
This storm that was built, though mighty in visage
Has moments of weakness,
Just as you do.
Everyone is afraid. Unsure.
This is why people act as they do.
So damn age, look, ability, or status.
Walk in there, head held high.
Let your boots echo like thunder
And be who you choose to be
Your own storm
And when they ask, “who, you!?”
Despite the fear, be different
Say, “yes, me… and you, too!”