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I Can See Through You

I can see through you. I know– that you use big words just because the untrained can’t define them. I know– that you scald your esophagus with tea and honey– and choke on minty-lemon lozenges– just because to the non-experienced– that’s the pre-show ritual the professionals perform on TV. How serious they must think you are. But still– I can see through you. How you hide in hashtags and microphone filters How you wear your dream college sweatpants to manifest your acceptance. How you sit up a little too straight– how it’s the only language you seem to speak. How you don’t audition for any school plays and post videos but ban comments. But you can see through me too. You can see the rivers that I sob for nerves. The screams into my pillow– trembling before shows. You can see the water I am fishing– the singing too loud– in what should be a sea– just so someone might say “How strong your voice is!” You can see how I can’t enjoy myself if I’m not the best in the room. How I lie around all day– and come to my lessons unprepared. How I forget my lyrics– my pencils at home. How I hit and scratch at my face if heaven forbid there’s a crack– a fumble. You can see how I avoid work to avoid mistakes. How I worry that you envy me. But I can see through you– you are tortoise and I am hare. I could always see– even when we were children. How I got the attention from our teachers. How I was the one who was praised by our peers. I could always see– that you were the one who got the flowers. I could always see the kisses– and sticky IHOP dinners. I could always see– rows of grandmothers and cousins– in the wedding chapel of our community theater. I could always see– yet all I got was a nudge– a “hurry up, let’s go–” a “we have food at home”. I could always see– how my parents would laugh– at how blinded by love mothers of untalented children must be. I could always see– how “a little pitchy towards the end of your song.” sounds a lot like “To be the best is not your best– and we don’t care that you’re 10 years old.” But you could always see– the times I was so bad at hiding that I knew I was better than you. You could always see– my envy masked in all the times I’ve ever laughed at you. You could always see– that when talent outweighs love and when love outweighs talent how unkind we can be. I can see through you– and I wish you well– for I’m not worthy either.

I Can See Through You

I can see through you. I know– that you use big words just because the untrained can’t define them. I know– that you scald your esophagus...