Pretty girls sashay in their pink skirts
Long hair flows
Like water where the sidewalks burn.
Ruby lips, Masquerade faces
Dolls with hearts of plastic.
Mommy tried to make me that way,
Stained my lips with sticky blood,
Bruised my face with blush.
My lips tasted like crayons and chalk.
Mommy said boys will love me.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Mommy, I hate these dresses.”
“Don’t you want to be beautiful?”
“What a shame.”
Opened eyes saw the real world.
Mommy’s eyes saw a perfect world,
Teeming with pretty girls
Who smooched with handsome boys
Giggled at everything and thought of nothing.
A dark abyss of wine and ashtrays
And guys smelling of sweat and mint.
Everyone was friendly enough.
Everyone was free and gay.
Closed eyes saw imperfections.
My eyes saw truth and peace.
I was not like those pretty girls, not at all.
My mother would be hurt, so hurt.
Because girls didn’t kiss girls.
Not in her perfect world.
Her world was falling to pieces,
Fragments of perfection turning to dust.
Smiles ripped into tatters,
Crimson lips melted into red vile.
The world was turning gray.
I had no right to be elated.
Mommy was lugubrious and grieving
For the pretty little girl she wanted me to be.
But my soul was free, and life was now complete.
I was safe and secure and smiling.
But Mommy was shattered.