The Pure Dress of Humanity

The Pure Dress of Humanity

by samantha stiers

You hate yourself,

said my new therapist.

That’s why you want to die.


BS, I said.

I want to die cause I love myself.

I want to end my pain.


But why are you in so much pain?


I had no answer.


I had a secret.

She wanted me to tell.

I couldn’t.

It was strange and shameful.


And I did not hate myself, I was sure.

I loved myself too much.  

I was arrogant.





She spoke my secret though I remained silent.

It was an impossible-to-guess secret.

There are no support groups

no clearinghouses dedicated to it.

No therapist specializes in my secret.


She knew anyway.

She saw me.

She cared enough to see.

She gave me her full attention, that rare jewel.


Awareness is love.




Do you want to kill things you love? Even if they hurt?



When something you love hurts,

you comfort it.

You do not take knives to it.

You do not bang its head against the floor.


My heart was breaking open like a porcelain egg.

many-colored birds were flying out.

They were free.


I stood in front of a mirror in an underground shop

trying on a short white dress.


My black sweatpants forgotten on the floor.

I looked like a plump black-haired human heart angel.


Me! I had a heart.

I was pure.


It happened–yet I was human.

And when I walked outside


and people stared, I knew

it was not because of the dress


but because I finally knew I was human

and so they believed it too.



photo green yellow butterfly dead flower by rottonara
photo gloomy tree RzlBrz007700
photo secret garden by BrianJClark
photo girl in magical dress RondellMelling

(original artwork by amiya, age 9)

(original artwork by izzy, age 10)

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Samantha Stiers
Samantha Stiers has published poetry, fiction, and memoir in many
journals including Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, and Black Warrior Review.

She lives in Boulder, CO.

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