Self-Portrait As My Mother’s Bathroom Drawer


United States
29° 27' 34.452" N, 98° 29' 42.8028" W

Years cannot be unlived
Through the piling on of concealer.
But she comes to me in hunger.

Beauty she holds in her hand
And we see in the morning before,
How fresh and sweet her basic state.

Pick, scrape, smooth, gloss.
Loneliness bites her bones—
The off scent of an expired product.

With each swipe of the wand,
Her life applied with measured skill.
My disheveled contents are her own.

She sees herself reflected.
Eyes a little tired, hair a little overworked.
Vitality—a thing of the past.

Her reflection is only skin deep
And for all the years spent looking,
She doesn’t see herself at all.

But I do. I do. And slowly,
I digest the foul food for her.
Salvation from shattered glass.

For the husband who works long hours
For the daughters who get the attention
She used to get when out among strangers.

Brushes and clips.
Mascara and liner.
Fifteen lipsticks, all the same shade.

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