(Un)staged Transformation

You’ve been painting your wings like a butterfly's 
All your life.

When you performed Lady Macbeth—
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”—
The students: “Are you an actor?”
I am, you think.
“I am not," you say.

When you were young:
“Your sister is pretty, but you are prettier.”
So you were.

When you were studying:
“You are smart, but your sister is smarter.”
So it was.

Shakespeare: “The world’s a stage.”
Let it be your stage.

You stand under the spotlight,
Audience invisible past the glare.
They hold their breath.
When it is time to shed,
You tear open the cocoon of old skin,
Peel back the shroud you have been hiding behind.
Already, they are applauding.
Cheering before you even step out
Because they think they know what they will see.
Last layer stripped away,
Wings, glistening in the light,


What they thought would be
Delicate and delightful
Are leathery and gray.
Scales coat your body.
Not fragile scales damaged by a single touch.
These are plates of armor.
Your hands and feet are not dainty and gentle,
Designed to tickle upturned faces when you land.
They are claws,
Designed to tear flesh from bone.

A woman screams.
A man: “Someone, call the police!”
Someone stands, flailing wildly to calm others.
“Don’t be afraid! It is merely an act.”
“For once, it is not,” you say.
Then you devour him.

Never mind.
You know you are worthy.
The other dragons think so, too.

Note: I don’t recommend anyone eat someone else out of revenge. It leads to long-winded FBI investigations and, more importantly, indigestion for weeks. Just don’t do it.

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