Alien Armor

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I died my hair platinum blonde.

I didn’t expect it to be

the finishing touch to my alien armor.


I died my hair a platinum blonde.

It is short and flat near my ears

with a little bit of curl at the top.

The black roots are growing through,

tainting the platinum with spots of pepper.

In a certain light, it looks white, even ultraviolet

In others, the color of straw that has been bleached by the sun.


Against my skin, my hair is shocking.

The lightness fuses with the dark red dome of my forehead,

my face the color of ancient amber,

accented by arching caterpillar brows.


I look at my body in the mirror,

and my outline is like an alien from a 1980’s sci-fi film:

long and slender and slightly muscled.

My breasts are flat and close to my body,

only the tweak of my nippled silhouette

betrays my gender as I turn to the side.

My hips take their time to curve outward,

and when they do, just barely so.

One side is more full than the other.

That’s a story for another time.


My arms are crystalized cinnamon sticks,

twined and brown and shiny.

My hands are like my grandmother’s;

dark brown and wrapped in veins;

long dark fingers bustle anxiously,

skillfully, seeking release.


I enjoy being my own type of alien.

I am learning to like my frame.

I love my new hair.


Not everyone else does, though, and that’s even better.

I can filter the folks who are worthwhile by how they react to my head,

my face, my body,

my armor.


I saw your eyes today scanning my hairline.

You, a formal friend, looked as if

observing something strange, unfamiliar.

Your eyes faltered, cautious like they do

when you recognize somebody

in conversation but have forgotten their name.


My armor lets me see the truth in other people.


If their gaze is searching, questioning,

I can tell they are beyond understanding,

frightened of my starkness

against the bland canvas of their life


If they cry out in joyous alarm,

celebrating me with arms outstretched;

I know, newcomer or not,

they are a welcome friend.


If they don’t react, don’t even look up;

I can rest assured in my invisibility.

Certain species just can’t see me;

or at least refuse to.


I like being my own type of alien.

I am an amalgamation of my ancestors.

Their colors come to mind:

Red for the flesh of my mother

Black for the lineage of my father

Yellow for the culture of my name

The colors combined represent the place of my birth.


You figure it out.


Yes, I am an alien.

I’m learning to embrace it,

like my armor embraces me

and protects me from unworthiness.

Time for takeoff.

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