by Pilar Quintana
after the painting by Paulette Turco
Yes, you are beautiful.
Taffeta wings fanned out
like royal raiments.
Stained glass jewels and gems
reflecting the Bourbon Sun.
Capturing every gaze with
More beautiful than the flower
you choose as your throne.
They cannot see your struggle.
The crawling of your grubby childhood.
Dragging along the ground.
Looking up at a world in flight
that called you worm.
Until the words became a shell,
hard and binding.
Forcing you to acknowledge
yourself, own yourself, love yourself.
Pick up the pieces of your soft heart. And dream.
Body heaving. Struggling
to escape the expectations of others.
At times it seemed you would fail.
That your body would fail.
Not strong enough to break from
the density of your past.
Until one day, you pushed
your spindly limbs against your shell.
And broke through.
Tired limbs outstretched, clothed
in ethereal splendor.
Testing their motion. Raising you
high above. Resilient. Beautiful.
Those who worship you
remark on your beauty.
And in your heart
you are a grubby child.