secret identity

for sunday scribblings

I keep myself separate.

When I began the project of myself, I created a separate me for all of you to see. So many untruths, especially in the beginning. Of course, like all self-projects, it morphed into just one particular thread of truth, the bright silver-purple shining thread that I usually keep hidden in the center of all my cords and wires and ribbons, occasionally allowing a glimpse of its shimmering color but mostly it stays hidden, close, closed.

You have such slender fingers. You can easily pick the silver-purple thread out of the bunch and smooth it, soothe it, detangle it from all the rest and point it out to me, show me the places where the edges are frayed and breaking, thin, where things need repaired, where my old repairs of electrical tape and wood glue aren’t holding anymore.

Don’t look at that. Don’t shame me by seeing the pieces underneath what I am ready to show you. Those are my secret threads of light, the ones that make up my very core, the ones that I caught on a moonbeam and tightrope walked and strung up to make holiday lights in pine trees and the lifelines I caught every time I threw myself overboard to drown. Don’t look, don’t see.

I keep myself secret. Sometimes I don’t mean to, it’s just the core of me is so spiderweb thin and glistening, delicate, so easily damagable with even the slightest of breaths, the slightest of soothing caresses. And you want your fingerprints all over it, you want to leave marks, to rearrange and untie carefully knotted holding places and you want to touch the scars with your own fingers and pretend like you understand where they came from.

I don’t even know how you got inside of there. Did I let you in? Did I give you the key, the combination?

There are places in me no one gets to go. The caves of me, dark and damp and dank and full of refuge, where I drag everything back inside and sort through it all, discard what I don’t need and store the rest.

I choose how much to reveal and where. I choose when to show myself. You don’t get to show up and sort through the mush yourself. I know I’ve asked you not to.

Go ahead, tell me I’m not integrated. Tell me I’m living in secret, in hiding, in shame. This is the only way I know how to do this, and it is all I have, for now.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

4 thoughts on “secret identity”

  1. Morgan says:

    This, and the poem before it, are hauntingly beautiful…I don't know what to say, other than that. I'm sorry I had to go…

  2. Onion says:

    beautifully honest…

  3. tongue-tied says:


  4. Crafty Green Poet says:

    so beautifully written and so true…

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