Poems 23 and 24
I wanted to work with a story about transformation in response to recent political happenings. I found myself drawn to the ending of Out of Oz. In the scene that is the climax of the novel, a witch performs a spell that returns all who are under some sort of transformation and disguise into their true selves. There are some unintended consequences that end up driving a wedge between the main character and her lover. The fact that Rain and Tip ended up going their separate ways is probably the part of the book that disappointed me the most.
To Call the Lost Forward
“They stole glances at each other, the green girl and the queen of Oz. Those forgotten called forward, against their wishes, into themselves.”
—Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
One incantation and we’re both laid bare, the maps
of our bodies changed, landmarks gone.
You are beautiful and I, I don’t know quite what
I am, only that I’m not what you bargained for.
This skin is unmistakable.
This skin makes me my grandmother, all the loathing and love of her.
This skin has always been there on the inside but now it’s turned out, painful.
This skin bears the burns from your fingerprints on its surface even though it is unlike anything you’ve ever touched.
This skin is sticky with you though nothing will ever be the same.
This skin will never feel you again.
This skin may never feel anything but the sting of night air.
This skin doesn’t feel like mine, so I pull my hair over my face, curtain myself away for just one last breath as me, alone.
When the shock clears I realize this
is who I am, this is why for years I felt the itchings
of something not right. Now everything fits me
but you. I love you still, I would hold you to this new body,
curve into you, show you every inch of me. But your shock
is disappointment, you yearn to back away. You will go
and mourn me and I will be alone, myself
but alone. Don’t you see these eyes, still the ones you looked to,
these hands that touched you, these lips?
I don’t dare speak with this new voice, don’t call
when you turn away. I watch you, I love you just a few moments
longer. Tonight I’ll sleep off our goodbye,
tomorrow begin anew.