statue

Consider her there, structured

gracefully, hardly comfortable,

legs hooked over another, sculpted; toes

pointed – her ballet lessons had

taught her that as a young girl,

head tilted, spine straight. There was

no place for her here, for that youthful

innocence. This was a place without memory,

even her name had been changed,

for her safety, to erase personality, to

superimpose physicality.

 

Even the slight tilt in her neck was

deliberate, framed exactly for aesthetics sake;

to show her weakness, girl triumphed by

even gravity. It was a game made of

more than passive languor, her toes,

fingers and lips had places, marks to hit;

the voice of a middle school music teacher

clanged in her head to hit her light,

and so she did.

 

A statue was not emotive enough to describe

the girl, grown woman, who made

herself a covetous prize, beauty

products applied with the steady hand her

sixth year art teacher had given her.

“Every mistake can be corrected,” she had

told her, but that was no longer true, any

mistake here could be deadly, finite.

 

It began as it always had, slowly at first,

testing the limits, toes in a water whose

depth was unknown. “Lay back and think

of England” her history tutor had once

recited, joking convivially of the beliefs

of past. To the statue, though, this was not

a history, nor could she think of England,

only herself; laid down- even now, back

straight, toes pointed.

 

After that it was always quick to end,

a shuffle of fabric and the same words of

thanks, awkward silence,  cleared throat.

Her flesh, seconds ago so warm, was now

stone again; a statue- composed and still.

Now, though, her face was smudged and

her back was slumped. This was no place for

that girl, that youthful innocence, but

she prevailed; head dipped, a few more cracks

in her stone flesh than before.

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