I laugh [staged and practiced], I smile [perfectly]. I shoot witty one-liners [stolen from obscure movies and lyrics (but no one here will know that)]. A specially crafted monster of attention. What’s bred in bone [what has been taught] and [what is obeyed]. I am such a good girl. I tell the right stories with all the important, heavy pauses [dramatic exaggeration reels in the audience and pulls on their precious heart-strings (barf)]. Sometimes the lights make me sick and I’m led offset to rest up [I am such a diva and have learned to take advantage of hypochondriac and psychosomatic indulgences] meaning: [impressions and pressures, inside my head and all around me (infecting everyone else, but I think I might be the only one who realizes it)]. I lie on the couch with my head in my mother’s lap [her hand holding a cool cloth to my forehead]. My knees are arched up [and anybody who walked by could see up my dress (heavy, poofy, flowery dress), see my white tights with the little hearts stitched in them (hot and unnecessary)]. I don’t care, cannot care, about anything right now. The lights are everywhere [so bright], their glare is what I will remember most. For some reason my father walks into the greenroom and starts taking pictures of us on the couch [flashes of light], emphasizing the pounding [put a little girl in a box and play her a recording of a jack hammer (at deafening volumes)]. My mother shoos him away [with a hiss and a glare], asks what she can do for me [always asking what she can do]. I have another four or five hours to go. I must put on my face again. Stand up straight and ask sweet questions instead of complaining [I do complain a lot, I’ll admit (but I get away with it)], I even convince myself [so dramatic]. I go to the sink and I wash my face [cold water against hot skin]. My mother brushes my hair a bit [long, blonde, done up in braids and bows (triggers)]. We return to the set, the lights on me [the miraculous] and my mother [the brave]. The audience is on the edge of their seats [bleachers] because that’s the cue [look excited]. We tell the story [again], play the video [again], broadcast my history [bodily, emotionally, unconsciously (unintentionally wounding / creating a monster)]. And smile [perfectly] through all of it [even all these years later].