Monday, March 7, 2011
My mother holds her cheeks for my inspection;
"Beautiful," I say, "just right,"
Glad that her old eyes cannot see
The lines that cross her face
Like a brand.
She is of an age with Marilyn and Liz
But without the surgeon's knife or early death
To freeze her in a frame.
I've heard that in her later years,
Elizabeth the queen froze herself with paste,
Turning a once fine face into a clown-like mask
Against whom none dare laugh.
I contemplate this now
As I paint my own beginning-to-fall face
And line my drooping lids with kohl.
I think it is no laughing matter;
Without the asp, would Cleopatra, too,
Have been this tragicomic parody of youth?