The Art of Becoming

by Melissa Marr



No mirror stands before her,
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.

Lone Star Stories * Speculative Fiction and Poetry * Copyright 2003-2005

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