A queen reduced to this:
debating the shape of an eyebrow,
weighing the merits of lilac lips
or persimmon frosted nails,
lingering the air with scented lures.
I know something about adornments,
what a strong-willed ambitious woman
needs to survive in the arena of men.
There are others more beautiful,
more wily in the ways of selling,
but the customers come to me.
I nude their mouths for boardrooms,
scarlet the lips for hungry nights,
line the eyes in smudge and smoke,
coat the lids with shadow green envy
like some graceful knowing cat
whose preening tongue
creams the shapely limbs.
A painted woman before my time.
Who knows what I could have achieved
in this world, this age that expects,
even demands, perfection.
I could warn them about the dangers,
the tightrope that drive and desire walk,
but a girl needs coin on the dresser.
So I peddle the wares of passion,
heighten the cultured gaze,
whet this desire for the power,
the feasting of wild dogs.
ALLISON THORPE is a writer from Lexington, KY. Recent work can be found or is forthcoming in Two Hawks Quarterly, Misfit Magazine, So To Speak, Crab Fat, Literary Juice, Yellow Chair Review, Poetry Pacific, and Gingerbread House.