The face in the mirror is not my own.
Yes I am sure everyone goes through this.
An identity crisis.
But this face is truly not my own, not wholly.
The body that made the skin, the nerves, the superficial muscles, not mine, not made by my DNA over my twenty-three years.
The underlying skeleton, deep muscle (those ones you don’t see but do most of the work), that’s mine.
I look nothing like who I was.
I do not look like the suicide victim whose face is now my mask.
But a mask that is suppose to be apart of me, cooperate with the nearby nerves. It isn’t a static mask, this mask can cry.
I have to be on immunosuppressant drugs so that the part of my face that is not mine does not throw off this stranger that is allowing me some facial expression and the ability to eat, to speak.
I will be out of the hospital soon. I will have to check in regularly so they can check the graft on my underarm for signs of rejection.
I am no longer who I was before the accident.
I close eyes, one with a lid barely my own, one completely. My skin color is mottled but it’s better than bar muscle and nerves beneath the white, white bandages. I saw not myself then too, just a mummy in the mirror.
I turn away from the mirror.
I don’t want to look at something that determines one so completely: this transplanted face.
Originally written on 09-29-10 for an LAS prompt with quotes people had written down (out of context). We had been reading about transplants involving the use of suicide victim parts in France in Science Capping: Medical Ethics that evening.
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.