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Could you love these?

A left elbow with skin like scales, darkened and rugged, thickened and toughened. My bad posture. A crooked right index finger. Hair thick like bristles. Forehead scars and wrinkles, and sagging cheeks and bruise black eye bags. My face, a terrain. My knees, burnt. Underweight but no surprises there. My breath smells like smoke. Thick veins protrude from my bony arms like my ribs forced to hide under the little layer of fat and muscle that could have made me more of a man, if only my metabolism allowed. No soap could take away the oiliness of my face, the punctures on my noses: acne from adolescence, marks from a childhood bout with chicken pox, traces of Manila’s torrid, poison-infected air. One tooth, fake. Eyes which subtly squint, and slowly sink into a stubborn skull. Moles in the wrong places, adorning the darker corners of my long, lonesome body. Dry lips which molt. Browned by the sun, and by being a son of ancestors carrying native colors. From afar, a praying mantis. Upon closer inspection, a plank of decaying wood. But even at my best, there is no proportion.

This beauty, skeletal.

Could you love these? Could you bear waking up to such a sight? Could you stomach to have me with all these blemishes, imperfections, mutations, and consequences? Could you allow someone like me to have you inside?

I have seen myself in the mirror naked, and inspected every corner, every crease, every collage of externalities which form my physique.

I asked myself, could anyone love all of these?

The mirror answered, “Yes.”

My mind continued, “if only love is blind.”