Content Warning: Implied ableism, mildly disturbing imagery, existentialism, references to masking


My face, it was smooth

And shiny and perfect

Not a piece out of place 

Now these cracks 

Are ruining my face


Fissures branch out

Cracks chip away

Peel off, fall away

In the mirror I peer

Between the cracks

What’s under here?


My friends worry

My family frets

I’m no longer perfect

“Don’t worry” they say

“Don’t be upset

The cracks will go away”


My face is falling

There’s something underneath

There’s something I can see

I can see outside

I can see through my face

Is this supposed to be?


Air flows in

Through the cracks

Flowing along the crevices

My face breathes

My eyes see

My skin no longer itches


My ‘face’ was a fake

As it falls off in flakes

I remember

How to relax

What I look like

Beneath the cracks


As layers peel

I begin to feel 

Yes I know now

This is me

This is who I used to be

Your faces show


You’re unhappy

You fear me

“This isn’t you,

You’re falling to bits!

It’s okay! Stay still,

We can still fix this!”


Let me be! Let me breathe!

Through holes I see 

The world anew

Is this what it means?

Can I be free?

Please! Oh please! 


I’m stuck in between 

The old and new

And what you see

Who I am to you

Isn’t who I am to me

Why can’t you see?


You pick the fragments

Off the ground

And ram them back

Seal up the cracks

You ‘fix’ the last piece

Tell me “leave it be”


My face is still cracked

Glue drying in the crevices

My heart builds resentment

I’ll never again be perfect

Once again, you call me

Your precious


So I stay between

Covered by the screen

Peering through the cracks

Peel it to let the underneath

Breathe, breathe

When you can’t see

Thisanga Serasinghe

The author Thisanga Serasinghe

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