June 18, 2019

After Olivia Gatwood


I see you over there,

crying because your face is less than poster child perfect.


Harder to appreciate the beauty in, maybe,

but no less beautiful.


I’ve seen that nose before somewhere.

Proud tree on the landscape of our faces.


The mark of an ancestry made to shame,

known for ugliness.


People died for having noses like ours.

For wearing their inferiorities so brazenly.


The lucky ones aren’t like us.

Born with their smaller, more socially palatable noses.


Born to parents who will spend the money to get that accident of a big nose fixed.

Suggesting that you both can’t love something that’s broken,


and that something’s broken just because it looks different.

It’s hard growing up in the world when we look this way.


I looked to barbie dolls and thought I should have been

blue eyed, blonde haired.


I looked to movie stars and thought how beautiful this face would be,

if only my nose was the kind meant to be captured on film.


Sometimes I would look in the mirror and put my hand over my nose

in order to imagine myself a better face.


Refused to turn in profile and face the true shape of my past.

I understand your need to cry that way.


The obsession with what the world deems beautiful, and every way in which you don't qualify

How your own reflection can turn into a nightmare.


Trust me, loving this face has been a hard fought battle,

but the prize has been my new found pride


in all the places this face comes from,

all the people that contributed to this landscape.


This nose is not a plastic button.

It’s a marble statue


chiseled into its unique shape by a master sculptor.

It’s something you go to a museum to gawk at,


where you bathe in it’s surreal beauty,

where you let the skill with which it was sculpted take your breath away.


You don’t see noses like ours everyday.

So statuesque, too regal to overlook.


So here, take the tissue,

clean up your face.


With a nose like that you should be holding your head high,

not hanging it in shame.

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