She steps the practiced step of a princess,
not by birth, but trained, with thoughts
contained in viscous mists of hairspray
and fragrances, leaving the depth
and breadth of other orbits unplumbed.
Ornamental and well-ornamented,
her arms swing fine arcs,
finishing with the supple swish of elbows
festooning her image for glances fetched.
Coifed short and neat, her yellow hair falls,
according to fashion’s trend,
and lips though thin are penciled full,
as with every line or pock found unpleasant,
all is secreted with a touch.
Hers is a face and figure in a state
of endless flux. And so laced in the trappings
of custom and class is she, one wonders
what she does with her naked frame
once alone and undone. Does she diffuse
into some shapeless mass by night,
quietly rebuilding herself each day
to meet a world of expectations?
Or, relieved of the weight
of such immense construction,
does she dance a loud and primitive dance
with private men unmentioned?
Unaware of the masks she wears,
or the bruises left by the rough assault
of history on her sex and her humanity,
her fretted fingers clutch
at all the little secrets,
kept like orphans in a home,
where the truth of her desire is untold
and the beauty of her blemishes
where, until she’s free to live and breath
and be her natural self,
no laugh too loud, no smile too wide
can ever stretch her face with joy.
The young mother,
cloistered at McDonalds,
from the bathroom,
appearing anxious and
before she entered
the vivid play area
where her children ran
looked for her,
but upon entering the loud,
she transformed herself
instantly into an angel,
smiling and reassuring
except perhaps herself.