The Art of Becoming
No mirror stands before
but she preens as she stares
at the ever-fading portrait
of the girl she will become again.
She gazes on her younger self:
trapped in a gilt-edged frame;
her tattered edges never curl,
held in place, frozen in a moment.
Flaking paint drifts from the canvas,
crumbling onto faded rugs,
as if to escape fate,
as if drifting away were possible.
She dips her horsehair brush,
swirls garish flakes with skill,
and as the sun slips away,
she re-paints her pallid portrait.
When paint covers face and flesh,
she feels the portrait's lie take life.
Thus the charade begins anew:
an eternal tableau of youthful follies.
Then, she's Become again: the girl she once was,
carrying the memory of aeons,
of countless dances to the same tune,
of innumerable tedious vows.
Soon, as it always must, morning will come,
and with it, true age return.
but while the night holds her,
she's damned to feign pleasure at the masque.
So she sweeps from her chambers,
knowing he waits below the stair.
As vacant as he was that night, he bows,
and she repeats the perpetual trite lies.
Then he takes her hand, as he does each night,
to lead her in an endless dance,
and she wonders if she'd ever been young enough
to call this torture a pleasure.
"The Art of
Becoming" copyright ©
Melissa Marr 2005
About the Author:
Melissa Marr teaches
undergraduate composition and lit in whichever state she resides that year.
Currently, she lives in Southern California
with her spouse and two children. In Fall 2003, her early New Year's
Resolution was to write texts that were neither lecture notes nor academic
theory. So far, it's great fun. Forthcoming and current (non-academic)
publications include fiction in Shadowed Realms, Flytrap, and
Aoife's Kiss as well as poetry in Star*Line, Dreams and
Nightmares, and Brutarian.
Star Stories * Speculative Fiction and Poetry * Copyright © 2003-2005