Deconstructing My Constructed Self
He paints my face—olive—light, a gift from ancient ancestors.
His strokes thick, quick, powder flies everywhere.
He draws my lips–firm, first an outline, plumb, overlaid with a layer for shine, fine.
Then my eyes–smoldering, brown–shadowed and still.
Lined with deepest black, my lashes traced.
Then the finishing touches—rouge–to unhide my cheekbones.
I feel beautiful today.
My face masked by paint to hide an empty pallet.
The brush rises again—wavy locks cascade from its tip—then pull away, twisting upwards, to crown my painted face.
Leaving only tendrils to fall, to touch, my soft powdered face.
But the day is over now; the paint no longer needed.
I stand before the mirror and deconstruct myself piece by piece until nothing remains but the white canvas from whence I arose.
First the eyes, the lines that defined, drew attention to my eyes–I erase
The darkened lashes I lighten until they are white again.
The rich color of my lips, I strip away.
The wavy locks I cut off; the base coat I undo.
Until stroke by stroke nothing remains but the white canvas that birthed my sweet face and the lonely artist who painted my face.
Assignment for Day 3 of Writing 201. (That’s what all this poetry on in medias res is lately. I’m meeting new writers and getting out of my comfort zone.) I fixed up an older poem I wrote back in college. I used to collage them. I included the original collage even though I edited the poem and changed some of it because I like it.