The Price of Beauty

Art by Ariel Cruz / Poem by Lori Minutoli

Lipstick smears across her cheek

Her tiny fingers can’t hold steady

Still she paints the required mask 

Bold eyes make men and women look

Plump red lips brings them closer

Smooth cheeks makes them touch 

Everywhere this is the message

From toddlers to teenagers

Models to mothers they all want this

Perfecting the mask becomes her life’s work

Hiding herself in an image of perfection

Deceiving her identity 

Criminalizing her authenticity

This violation of her born characteristics

Not a choice of her own doing

But a deception of her mind 

Society corrupted her mind

If Daddy had only validated her worth

If Mommy had taught her she was worthy

If boys weren’t programmed to lust

And girls not encouraged to tease 

She would be walking unmasked in her truth

Her smile would defy popular opinions

Her energy would attract sincerity

Her need for acceptance wouldn’t be

Her tiny fingers only wanted to play 

Mud pies and butterflies in Daddy’s eyes

Finger paints and silly string with Mom’s applause

Hugs and kisses just for  being present

But Daddy was gone long times in a row

So Mommy kept lipstick in her purse

The waiter, the trainer, the doctor too

Mommy’s mask made her happy 

Tiny minds just want to play

And see things a different way

Mommy was always happiest

When Daddy was  gone away

©️Lori Minutoli 2020

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