Burlington, Vermont

My mother applied beige
like a gauze pad to the bruises
I won playing a man’s sport.

For beauty, we used
dead roses, our lips
needed something gentle:
a dense color would do

to pass inspection.
Each face must meet the mirror
in harmony. It cannot blink

too much. It must
be yanked as marionette dolls
do allow for themselves:

enough space, but
never enough thought
to break momentum.

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