Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BLACK SWAN: a poem, Erica Guo

black swan

It’s been twenty years and you still
want to cover up the canvas.
During the first time in heels,
you puffed your chest out for emphasis.
As the usual, people stared
at the mother and her daughter’s growing behind,
marks of chocolate plumage.
A strut here, a strut there.
And it was almost the routine again:
play with the palette, give up your unruly,
slap on the rules.
Between drugstore aisles,
stilettos clanged against every inch.
I wondered: Couldn’t a duckling enjoy her color quietly?
You stopped short when I cupped the nail polish.
It would pull the shroud back
from your face and toward your hands again.
But it’s black, you cried. Black!
You grabbed the foundation, too light
for your cheek.
You held onto the sick powder.
I forced your hands to your side.
Your eyes stilled onto the sleeve of your sweater.
The smell of Mercurochrome
hunted you on the way out,
through twenty years, til today,
the way everyone hunted dark birds
with their eyes
until they flew no more.

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Erica Guo has worked on the staffs of Blueshift Journal and Transcendence Magazine, and co-founded Cenzontle Magazine:

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