Shadow Play – Melisa Ozer (she/her)

The work below is by Melisa Ozer as part of our MA Creative Writers takeover.

Violet lids and rouge-dipped fingertips
I wish I was more like Narcissus
Or a philosopher-king
For no one limits me more than myself
Trapped in this Platonic cave of mind
My perception of myself fell short
Of the reality
Of whom I so desired to appear as to the world
One who could write
& breathe
& love unforgivably

Chained to this wall, the shadows dance before me,
Their figures taunt and flicker in the fire light,
Crackle, spit
Before me lay a pool of water,
My chains only letting me lean forward so far
My reflection distorted in the ripples,
One side bigger than the other
Shimmers by my eyes
Are they tears or crushed stars?

Violet lids and rouge-tipped fingertips
I wish I was more like Narcissus
At least in some shape or form,
Be able to love myself
I press my nails into my cheeks
Marking crescent moons
From the night I cannot see

There is so much that I do not know:
What does it mean to be Good
& Beautiful
& the true Form of Myself

I lean in closer to the water
Until my eyes grow clearer
The lines of my face more distinct
The reflection and my hand
Touch fingertips
Almost as if I could be reassuring myself
I will break free

I lean in
How long have I been trapped here for?
Closer, closer,

Closer –

Sketches of two hands reaching for each other across two overlapping pages
Sketches of two hands reaching for each other across two overlapping pages

Leave a Reply