Darlene Anita Scott

After “The Women in My Family” by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Eyelashes tease my mother from this face.
Ivory foregrounds pupils like tunnels grid-
locked with anthems. These eyes split, their
focus tricked from them by two different
magnifiers pressed to their wet with saline.

The mirror believes my teeth are secure,
squeezed by bars and brackets claimed
by my first salary and a boy who always
tried to fasten them with the slick of his
smirk. Girls who wear so many spaces

are not eligible to loaf in that desire. Should
our hair cling defiantly to the scalp, thin with
friction where we press migraines to mute,
spill through combs only under the coaxing
of heat and gel our chances are almost extinct

as the letters after Z. If we can conceal the buff of
a ginger snap against our chests; ombre charcoal to
oak beneath cheeks, hue and plump of properly fried
chicken, we carry mirrors and ghosts like bifocals
against the milk of the women in our families.

Our shoulders could choose collapse under breasts
raised to salute from sixth grade when other girls’
trickled into their vests. When our hips lit matches
to revolutions, looting choices we were saving for later.
Not even the two eyes on our faces see the same thing

at the same time. When we are conferred beautiful
we search for the quality noses that barely expose;
ambiguous lips to make our faces symmetrical,
worthy, even if cataracted, versions of our mothers.