• Haylee Caserta

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.


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