because I never read instructions right, and to freeze something entirely off
my body seems like too much for me, who am not a doctor,
to do alone, but I have done my research: warts grow
on compromised skin, a white man tattooed “fear itself”
on my wrist ten years ago, and I shouldn’t have let him
get that close to me in the first place—I should have known
a wart would grow there eventually, slowly at first,
and then by this mid-summer a giant O
where the E in FEAR used to be, a white orb swallowing
the sentiment around it, and I should have known not
to mark myself as so American, even though my first memory
is standing below a WWII display at the FDR museum
holding my white mother’s hand and feeling fear for the first time,
even though every morning I ate only off the presidents placemat
and sloppily, so sometimes the sugared cereal lines crossed out
their faces, and I’m American too: I bought the most expensive
wart removal kit they had at Target and I’ll end up throwing it away—
that’s how American I am, I don’t care what I waste, I named
all my dolls Eleanor Roosevelt, even the black Barbies—
the excuses are how the wart got this bad in the first place.