Marcus by Melanie Thompson

“There is lipstick smeared across my mirror. I have crushed so many tubes that I am left
with a palette of shades of pink, orange, and red; a myriad of feminine torment. There are still
strands of hair woven in my carpet from two fortnights ago, when I took Mother’s pruning shears
to the blonde lying across my shoulders and hacked myself a straw nest. I thought the hatred
would fall off in the golden clumps, but I can easily find it in each glass reflection. Last week I
cracked a rib from wearing shirts three sizes too small and my brother laughed and called me
crazy, said he could take the knife to my chest whenever I was ready. But I’ve already tried. They
won’t come off. “


– My name is Isabelle Marcus and I am a boy 


Copyright © Melanie Thompson. Originally published on as the winner of the 2018 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize, senior category.



Subscribe to Poetry Pause or visit the Poetry Pause Archives.