She gingerly outlines the curve of her lips with incandescent red

More lasting and luminescent than the hibiscuses and peonies in her mother’s garden,

Traces her upper lids effortlessly with the thick kohl liner

That imprints itself uncomfortably like the tattoo on the stomach of her grandfather,

As if to hide herself.

She stares back into the mirror,


And disillusioned

With the image of herself.

The reflection of impurity stares back at her,


A smile so impossibly wide that it reaches the ends of the Pacific

A smile too wide and a smile too perfect

That she imagines exists only to obscure the underlying malice in the slight sneer,

That she imagines exists only to mock her every affliction.

Soon, she is smiling too,

As if like Freud,

She derives some sort of pleasure from this tortuous state

But no,

She is just hiding herself.