Paper Face by Sally Nagle

the people here enjoy the act
of unfolding themselves.
watch them wish their bodies
into something clear and papery thin
something riddled with tears
and creases.

you’ve never seen them like that.
never seen them fold their bodies so many times over
that their wrinkles go smooth.
that’s something holy,
but not to me.

when all that you are is paper
the sky cracks itself open
and then you take all the silly things
and break them,
until your palm is full of salt and sadness
and you eat grey like a feast.

you feel your joints fissure.
it’s hard to notice until your gears are rusted over and
every mechanism within your great, terrible body
has become a singular monster.

in all of the small eternities between us,
you are the same.
you would look at this place
of paper houses and paper faces
and strike a match.


Sally Nagle lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her family and has been writing for 8 years. In 2017, she won first place in the 21 and under category of the By Me Poetry Competition. In the spring of 2021, she won a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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