The Museum of Lonely Girlhood
Along this wall there is a collage
of postcard invitations for all
the sleepovers she was not invited
to, all the birthday parties she chose not to attend
alone. You may find their brash
colours jarring, the display like a crowded
room with music turned too loud.
Through this door there is the tiptoe of her voice, unheard
by most. It whispers across the hallway,
a telephone unrung.
These televisions play a revelation of reruns
of two women falling in love in Seattle Grace’s on-call rooms.
Each forty minutes is an unloneliness,
a thin tether to this life.
In front of you there is a locked
closet door. The keys along the wall
are rusted from disuse. Inside,
a stack of her notebooks;
their velvet pages an echo of girlhood
crushes, unrequited. Witness them filling
after the lights are extinguished.
Here is the narrow bed in the hostel room,
rented for a night to be closer to friends who
did not show. The empty room pines
with the row of unused beds. The only pillow
to know a head that night whispers
of her unsatisfied hunger for belonging.
On your right is a balloon, drifting
unwanted into the sky on repeat.
Look how it is coloured wallflower,
see how it almost disappears
against the blue backdrop.
If I didn’t point it out would you
have noticed its ragged bloom?
Behind this door there is a live
reenactment of The Giving. Please ignore
the mirror screaming out The Taking.
This room holds the funeral for her
innocence. It is poorly attended, of course.
But the preacher is passionate.
Up ahead I’d like to introduce you
to the Patron Saint of Invisibility.
This wall hanging was started
by the artist at the tender age of thirteen.
You will see how she has allowed the edges
to blend into the wall. Ask yourself,
what is really visible? Look again,
now do you see anything at all?
Melissa Sussens (she/her) is a queer veterinarian and poet. Her work has appeared in Capsule Stories, Horse Egg Literary, Kissing Dynamite, SFWP Quarterly and Gnashing Teeth Publishing, among others. She has performed at the Poetry In McGregor festival and at Off The Wall and placed 2nd in the New Contrast National Poetry Prize. By day she works as a small animal veterinarian and whenever she’s not doctoring animals, she assists in teaching Megan Falley’s Poems That Don’t Suck international online writing course. Melissa lives in Cape Town with her partner and their two dogs. Find her on Instagram @melissasussens and on Twitter @girlstillwrites.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.