Indian style on the floor,
like she learned in kindergarten.
It’s been awhile now, innocence gone.
In front of her is a bitter reflection.
But that’s just a wonderland self,
a writer’s interpretation.
In reality
it’s just curvish-flesh over bones,
shapes that subtly whisper of woman.
Somewhere not so deep within skin
are tiny blue ribbons that pulse softly of life.
Just flesh.

And it’s clear,
not invisible, but see through skin.
She misses the way color used to feel on her.
The way it swept over,
with bold strokes holding her together.
“I want to be the color of something real.
A better shade of self.”
But that rainbow skin that she loved so much is gone,
it was peeled off to reveal,
this illusion of flesh
that she now studies in the mirror.
It did not come off all at once,
but one rainbow strip at a time,
all the colors taking turns.

Everyone she met proclaimed,
“what a masterpiece!”

But she refused to hang herself in a museum,
she wanted people to feel the beauty of her brush strokes,
so the elements were her exhibit.
Over time the sun faded her reds,
and the blues were bled by rain.
Everything else in between,
people dipped their flower petals in.

And now sitting in front a mirror,
she has nothing left to give.
She takes her paintbrush.
She dips it in a color of light green gem stones,
“I’m painting myself an ornament. Just for looks,
please don’t touch.”

And she is the color of numb,
no longer a canvas left to be filled.


SHELBY WARD


Shelby Ward is senior from Bluefield, Virginia majoring in English. She would like to thank both Dr. Bob Hicok, English, for his guidance for “The Jaded Girl” and Dr. Nikki Giovanni, English, for “Breakfast on Mars.” After graduation Shelby plans on attending graduate school.