by Kai Tsao
Art by Amy Chatterjee
Issue: Paracosm (Winter 2017)

i started showering and flowering in the seventh grade
i didn’t have a purpose in life except trying to make
a girl’s day
i ran from my family telling them i’d be home by the time i was 28
i was always smaller than everybody else was
i don’t know why i wasn’t growing as fast but
i took it as a blessing, i didn’t see a reason to hate it
i just wanted love and i wanted to be taken i told them
i don’t mind my height
i’m proud of being short
i told them this was just a part of who i was, man
if you hate it then don’t be giving me a buzz, man
i tried to focus on my academic issues you see
because i wanted to get better than a D or a C
my mama told me it’s okay if you’re a little bit tired
you’re still in middle school
it doesn’t matter yet
you’ll get hired
i didn’t see it, i don’t know if that’s because i’m blind
or my mind doesn’t work the same way
the same kind
or maybe i’m not tall enough to see over my own self-hatred
people asked me what i wanted to be
and so i faked a little smile
and told them i’m not really sure
i know i don’t want to be a janitor or chauffeur
but honestly i just didn’t want to be the high-schooler
that i was about to become, the one
who didn’t have an ounce of thought of where he wanted to go
i want to go home
i’ve been living in this house for fourteen years but i don’t
feel like i belong, i just take it along
but when i hit the ninth grade and i was still on the wrong side
of my showerhead, that’s only 5’3” off the ground
i told them i was gonna grow
watch me pound after pound
and there were only three inches of space in my case
between my face and the base of my showerhead
i raced to undo all the things that i had been failing to succeed at
and when i broke it all i wanted just to start it anew,
but then my world came crashing round, i couldn’t undo
and i’ll admit
my mind shattered on itself
i wanted farewell
i never excelled
i turned up the heat in my shower because
i didn’t want to feel myself crying
and thinking how my family would feel if i really went flying
and when i looked up at the sky
all i saw was shining white
in the ceiling
in the tiles
i wasn’t even as tall as what i’d told them i’d be
and still the showerhead loomed a couple inches from me
and that was long ago and then i wanted to face it
but it was too much
i’m only human and hating
and i remember how it was when you greeted me again
you silently encouraged me
you became my only friend
and i could only fit a bar of body soap
between my head and where the showerhead eloped
i said so quietly that nobody could hear it but me
that i would fight until i met you at the sixty and three
and so i kept going at it
for a while i was happy
i had found a new love and tried keeping it classy
but then it all fell apart
just like everything else
and now i’ve given up on life
given up on my health
and now i’m bumping my head when i step in the shower
i’ve met you where i’d always said
through the sweet and the sour
and i don’t know where i’ll be going after this
i’m almost leaving so let’s sleep in our abyss
and tomorrow when we meet i’ll tell you all about the time
when i looked up at this rhyme and saw a crowd in front of my eyes
and if we ever happen to meet again
i want to tell you of a time
when all this comes to an end.

Three images, with the word "showerhead" in all caps lightly written in the background. The first image takes up the upper-left quadrant and shows the silhouette of a person sitting down and holding one of their hands up, contemplating something. The second image takes up the lower-left quadrant and shows the wing of an airplane mid-flight. The third image takes up the upper-right and lower-right quadrants and shows a person in a hoodie looking downward at a measuring tape.