I do not conform,
this is not by choice but by condition.
When people look at me
they see a freak, a travesty
As do I
but not for the same reasons as them.
Those who gawp
and gape and grunt
gruesome words at me.
They see my wiry beard
affixed to my delicate jaw and cheeks;
they laugh and laugh
and laugh at The Bearded Lady.
They see imperfection
on such a superficial irrelevant level
as they spin me in my cage
to get a better look
at my flaws.
Hair growing on my face
doesn't make me broken, or damaged.
The cysts do;
popping tiny kernels in my ovaries
and flushing hormones through me
these are the things I worry about
while others mock me for my features -
and take photos for mementos
of their time at the circus.
I don't care about the beard
I care about the children,
bearded or otherwise, I'll never have,
and the ache for their limbs
entangled in my arms,
their breath on my skin.
Who cares about a preconceived --
( unable to conceive ? )
- notion of beauty
and whether or not I stack up
to someone else's standards
Laugh if you want to
at the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin
while I step on stage yet again
another night in the ring
Pretending like there aren't holes
in my heart,
in my ovaries,
in my identity as a woman, my life...
Smile for the pictures; it's The Bearded Woman.