#BlaPoWriMo: Masked Beauty

In art class, we design
African tribal masks—
long, oval faces,
almond eyes, patterns
of diamonds and dashes
painted on noses,
chins, and cheekbones.

Sabine slips her new face
over sable skin—a deep,
glistening purple like
blackberry juice.
Swirls of red and yellow
dance a rhythmic gyration
below curved lashes peeking
through slits for eyes.
I roll my neck, arch my back
in and out, pumping to the absent
heartbeat of the djembe drum
she plays between her knees.

You look so nice!
I like all the colors!

her classmates recite.
It’s the first time she’s
ever been called pretty.

© 2016 Nortina Simmons 


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