No Laughing Matter

Isabella Brant
detail from Isabella Brant by Pieter Rubens

No Laughing Matter

There !
There in the middle of my cheeks,
I swear – I bear the mark of freaks !
These cavities my face must wear
Just undermine my steely stare –
These hollow hickeys suck the chic
From out my compromised physique.
Oh, why must I be cursed to share
The pinched-in dimples of the meek ?

I’d sooner acne, moles or freckles
Than these intermittent craters –
Hardly think my lips need echoes
Just to show my cheeks are traitors.
But such is their two-faced work
That turns a smile into a smirk.
Alas, they’re written in my cells –
The cheesiest of tells.

Why on me and not my brother,
Nor my cousins, aunts or nieces ?
But the worst is how my mother
Loves to chub my surplus creases.
Hardly wonder all that froth
Would drive my teenage self to goth.
I felt far safer with a frown
When their depressions could not bring me down.

Damn !
I always promised that I wouldn’t let them show,
Or that I’d let my whiskers grow.
But if you like to see such flam on me
Feel free – but never tell me so !
I guess we’re wrinkled when we’re born,
Or else that’s how my face has worn.
I guess I should maintain a scowl,
Or slather on the botox with a trowel.

Dented, vented, wrecked and rent
Is really not my style –
I guess this must be what is meant
When faces crack a smile.
Did I once gurn on a change of breeze
To trap my grin within parentheses ?
I wish my apple cheeks were fruitless
From this taint of enforced cuteness.

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