I was like a boy scout pup tent,
flimsy polls and nylon
meant little to the storm
and how long could I defy it?
refract flashlight beams and capture lung-heated air
to manifest a mirage of interiority, of order, of containment --
it was never long never long never strong enough.
let go of or ripped from me?
poles shattered bamboo shards into waiting martyr palms,
freed fabrics rip and wind their way into vines, slipping tighter and wilder
around me.

How can I stand before you now, without my illusions?
I don't know what it is you'd see
and have not made peace
with that degree of amorphousness, of malleability.
I can almost open my mouth around the words who am I
alone, facing the wall, containing my echoes,
but in front of waiting faces I can't stand and be seeking
can't fight the impulse to hide in mirrors, reflecting,
weave illusions like tapestry that show me to be what you always saw,
what everyone always expected - if contradictory - how I'm wanted
how I can be used
which way you want to taste me, mold me, pour me out
into an image of you

of the small form,
curled, unidentified,
hiding from your scrying touch
and the heat of expectations
that dissolve its