I’m an expert at preening.
No, not hair-grooming and lip-smacking and nose-powdering
and all those kinds of skin-creaming schemings-
I’m an expert at forming a facade,
varnishing a veneer,
preening a pretense, if you will.
I’ve got a ripe, rosy smile. See? I’m smiling at you now.
Look at it, all pink and upturned and rigid.
It’s like a Barbie doll got a hold of Botox
and went to town on my lips.
Now I’m always smiling. Can’t help it.
But ain’t my beam a beaut?
I dress nice, I talk nice, I walk nice;
I am nice, with my carefully inserted giggles
and carefully crossed legs and carefully straightened posture-
you probably wouldn’t guess that I practice my laugh
in the mirror, ’cause it’s just so aerated and elated,
a chiming chuckle born and raised in my breast.
Persona preening isn’t just a personal pastime of mine.
I take it seriously with my morning coffee
(two sugars, hold the milk),
and tend to it with brittle fingers throughout the day.
I’m good at giving a guise,
real good, and though on some days
my lips wilt and eyes twitch and shoulders slump,
I can always wring it around with sugary sweet smirk
and assurance that no, I’m fine, thank you.
I’m perfectly ok.