Before the Show

Her head was a snow globe, no definition

of lips or jaw or cheekbone.

Her nose was a mound of putty

yet to be cast into shape.

Her eyes were black and reflective

holding little of their own, drinking in

camera flashes like drops of milk.

Her mouth was relaxed, parting open to soak life in

through teeth the size of pinky nails.

Her bangs were the velvet curtains before the show;

Her hair the wig on the mannequin’s head.

 

But she does not know she must perform.

She does not know she’ll chip one of those front teeth in the first act, and

how by the third or fourth act – at sixteen – she’ll have a limp penis enter her when

she’s drunk.

She does not yet know the sound of her own heartbreak,

muffled under a mattress.

She does not know how she can flood the theater with water from her eyes.

 

Because she does not know that she is alive.

 

She will learn it in a thousand doll-sized deaths.

 

She will feel it, breathe in the dust of the spotlight,

receive these painful acts coursing through her as life.