Children Drawing Stick Figures at Night

Published October 4, 2013 by April Fox

I don’t think it’s
juvenile aesthetics alone
and poor motor skills that make us
as small children
inclined to draw ourselves
and each other
as stick figures.

We are accurate representations of
who we really are
this way:
no distended bellies, fat with greed and gluttony
and the taste of our own

No misshapen or too-flat or too-wide
noses or buck teeth or
gaps in between
or crooked molars
no weak chins or
blank stares
out from under
invisible lashes
dead behind the lenses

No stiff, arthritic finger joints
or calloused toes
or knock knees or flat asses
heavy thighs or
sagging breasts

No unfortunately-timed
brought on by thoughts
of the stiff-armed, triangle skirt
next door

We grow these things later,
having had our limbs broken and our
organs exposed,
watery eyes, phlegmy stomachs
blackened lungs and punctured
appendixes ripped out and tossed aside
into jars of formaldehyde
face to face with the faceless
that float beside them
arm buds swimming, tiny tails
wagging as if
they’re overjoyed to see
through sightless eyes
the coming home
of mother

We grow them with our hair, our consciences,
our fingernails, things made to be cut off
and styled
as we see fit
painted and teased
dressed to the nines we are
there on paper,
crayoned arms and legs and smiles like
someone went to
slash our throats
and missed and we are
dripping paint
onto the floor
while the children let the pages fall
and scatter where they once thought
they were coloring the world in
one shaky line
at a time.

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