they said i am a joy.
they see me through eyes
unknowing and brand new-
i am competent, and capable.

i used to watch Home Improvement
with my father.
he said it was funny,
so it was.
i thought what he thought.

i was adorable on demand.

i was lots of things on demand
for lots of people.
i took requests.

i watched the fire burn,
watched them drive away,
watched her die,
watched them (the collective him) hurt me

all from outside myself.

scapegoat, whipping post,
ball of rage,
on demand.

all or nothing.

i was
failed perfection,
clean house and dirty hair,
obsessively wiping down the kitchen counters
freeing them of the condensation rings from the tiny glasses
between every shot.
erasing.

alcoholic housewife
on demand.

it took me years to realize
i don’t particularly like Home Improvement
and i’m not a version of myself,
a stripped-down section
for easier consumption,
layerless.

i have opened the boxes
i hid myself in
i have stared inside
and weeped
at what i have seen.
i have cast light across the shadow.

i no longer take requests.

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