full of rhythm
to Jasper Johns
sculpting them into
dull silvery statements
deep black matte remarks
full-bodied, slim on top, a
woman. Six is a woman,
pregnant with, not life,
something more, the
sum of the
Blueprint for Beauty
She is twenty,
has two babies, and a divorce from a man
she loves but cannot live with his "mental
un-health." Translation: fists, frightening
the girls, forbidding her to accept a full
scholarship for a chemistry degree.
The good news:
her mom agrees to take care of the kids
when she finds work at a doctor’s office
where he (it was always a he back then)
takes her under his wing and under
the desk for his daily satisfaction.
He instructs her to be blond, chisel
the Roman nose, risk it sniffing white
powder. Recognizing her manual dexterity,
he teaches her his skills to freshen faces
for the screen, brighten hope for the newly-
discarded with too much money, too little to do.
Now she is forty,
submits to his needles even when it
does not sustain his desire. Her girls,
bitter about their perceived abandonment,
appreciate her home-made tiramisu,
the occasional, only occasional, check.
They’re in awe of her continued faith
in The Church, that she’s avoided laws
governing her un-certified (though well-
trained) skills for those “little somethings”
supervised by cosmetic surgeons for patients
not yet ready for their full menu of services.
Now she is sixty,
off to Zumba class after work, her five-inch-high
red-soled Louboutins click on the sidewalk;
her colorful tights shape her size two frame;
her still softly blond hair frames her wrinkle-less
face, prick marks painted over with creamy
(imported) make-up. The doctor? He died,
leaving the wife everything but her pride,
leaving our heroine as deep in denial as she
was forty years ago. No, there never was
anyone else. I had to keep my job, for the girls,
for our livelihood. I didn’t know what else to do.
Here, take the Mikasa.
You always liked it more than the Dansk;
And all the silver.
I hate polishing it, you find that meditative
Rubbing away the tarnish after exposure
Like all those things we never spoke of.
And, the television,
You love those damn animal shows.
I wouldn’t want you to miss a single one.
And, some sheets and towels.
clean sheets and towels.
Lean the mattress against the tree
Outside, like a kid playing hide-and-seek
Afraid to be found.
There. Everything’s settled.
About Diana Rosen
Diana Rosen has published essays, flash fiction, and poems in more than sixty publications including RATTLE, Tiferet Journal, and Soft Cartel, plus a half-dozen anthologies including Altadena Poetry Review, Those Who Can ...TEACH, and the award-winning, Kiss Me Goodnight. She lives and writes in Los Angeles where she also provides online content for food and beverage web sites.