Shape Shifter

A shape shifter.
A transformer.
Everything you fear.

The unknown is
a scary place,
a scary thing.

Do you know who I am?
Do I know who I am?

Would someone please show me
which home is my place,
which family my own,
which lines I should trace?

Every contour on my face,
every word that I utter.
It is all you.
And that’s scary.

Why does it scare you?

Because I am a stranger, and your homey.
Your son, and your enemy.
I am all that you were,
and all that you will be.

You want to embrace me
as your child, your kin.
But I’m different, a little
too complicated to fit in.

You wish for things to be simple,
the son whose identity is set in stone.
So I travel these unbeaten paths alone –
As you close your eyes to me,
a child who barely knows part of his family.

I look to you to help define me,
and still you refuse to see,
even as your memory is stirred by me.

Your mind pushes me
to the back of your head
but your heart won’t let
you forget who I am,
and so I’ve grown,
the invisible boy,
soon to become
the invisible man.

Some days you simply wonder,
and life seems more an illusion, and
all those heavy questions drive
your mind into diffusion.

Your reason screams “yes,”
while your sleepless conscience
tells you otherwise.
So which is telling truth,
and which is telling lies?

As you struggle to pick,
you start to realize,
you’ve made a wrong choice –
a part of you died.
This choice about me
could never be wise.

So which shall you follow,
your heart, or your head?
Don’t be too quick on the take –
You might make a worse
nightmare of your bed.

To see the unseen
is a complicated thing.
Many have said that
with knowledge comes pain,
And I assure you that
seeing me has consequences.

So you whisper, “ok”
Your curiosity parched
For the knowledge that quenches,
As it tugs at your core,
A million tight wrenches.

I will see you
Is your tardy demand!
And a transient being
Lifts his transient hand.
Where this unveiling takes you,
You intend to land.
You’re facing your demons,
You’re being a man.

So who is behind
the mask, you ask?

It’s me,
An interracial boy.
A melting pot of culture, and color,
A child who won’t accept the word other.
Not molded from one sole identity cast,
Destined for eternity to sculpt my mask.

Poetry by Ted Boughter-Dornfeld Copyright © 2010


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