This poem was in one of my college textbooks, and it’s stuck with me all these years. I dug it up today:
Wait. What you see is another person
hanging here. I am the girl who jumps
the Hodgman’s fence so quick they never see me.
Skipping rope, I always do hot peppers.
But once on the way home, I got in a strange
car. I screamed and beat on the windows,
but they smiled and held me. They said I could go
when I put on the costume, so I climbed
into it, pulled up the huge legs,
globby with veins, around my skinny shins,
pulled on this stomach that flops over itself,
I pushed my arm past the hanging elbow fat
down into the hand and fingers, tight
like a doctor’s glove stuffed with vaseline.
I hooked the top behind my neck, with these
two bladders bulging over my flat chest.
Then I pulled the rubber mask down over
my head and tucked in the cheek and chin
folds at the neck, hiding the seam. I hate
the smell. When they pushed me out of the car,
I slipped and staggered as though the street
was wet with fish oil. You see what this costume is.
If you will undo me, if you will loan me a knife,
I will step out the way I got in.
I will run on home in time for supper.