(or, an ode to my fledgling wrinkles)
by Alice Godliman
If I could have been granted eternal youth and beauty:
been forever green like dewdrops on new shoots, like apples from the Norse gods,
like a goddess remembering to include youth when begging for immortality, like a fountain.
Like enchanted consumption – mermaid’s flesh (inadvertently) or vampire blood (freely):
then there are marks on my face which would never have had a chance – lines born
of frowns and laughter:
creases boldly framing my eyes; furrows etched into my forehead;
dents chiselled between brows –
and a future erased: lines which won’t grow, won’t congregate and multiply, make new friends,
find in each other new matching accessories.
There’s something lonely about this –
that I might lack these outward clues
to who I am, to have nothing of my personality already written –
or fated to be written someday – onto my face.
Lonely – a statue, an unfortunate who stared upon Medusa, a painting, a pillar of salt.
Instead: unbitten, unfed, uncharmed:
I get to show people who I am.