Concealing

By Shannon Kernaghan, 2020, Canada.

I study her practised strokes
mirror-side, my legs dangling
from the bathroom cabinet.
She applies a solid foundation
then caulks empty space with
concealer, a false front to hide
true age, real provenance,
“Better tips,” she says with a heavily mascaraed wink.
When I examine my favourite photo of her as a teen before she came to Canada,
her olive skin shining
through the years and Kodachrome,
I long to run fingers through the snarl
of ropey curls she now relaxes chemically, straightening and shellacking with products that conceal her Mediterranean past,
a name shortened from Simonides to Simon,
one I will legally change back
proud of my heritage,
unafraid to show a few curls
a few cracks.

Source: The League of Canadian Poets – 2020 Poem in Your Pocket.

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