THE DRESSING TABLE*
At five on a February afternoon,
slender in her slip and bra, my mother
works at her mahogany table,
sketching brows and painting eyes;
after years as a practicing beauty,
I watch from the blue chintz chair,
hardly a gazelle at fifteen.
Her perfume's the color of scotch.
With hands that hug me so hard they pop,
she rubs on lipstick, smacks
her lips, and snaps the compact shut,
as if she's trumped at cards.
I feed on the scent of her,
willing her to bring me into the game
where women hunt men, but
she steps into her satin gown.
Zip me up, will you, honey? I'm late.
I do it with my rough, red hand.
A spray of diamonds at her breast,
she flicks her eyes in her full-length mirror.
How do I look?
She curves her hand half-moon
around my face and rustles out.
*From Anne Kaier's book In Fire and was originally published by Muse Apprentice Guild