Makeup

By Dora Malech b. 1981 Dora Malech
My mother does not trust
women without it.
What are they not hiding?
Renders the dead living

and the living more alive.
Everything I say sets
the clouds off blubbering
like they knew the pretty dead.

True, no mascara, no evidence.
Blue sky, blank face. Blank face,
a faithful liar, false bottom.
Sorrow, a rabbit harbored in the head.

The skin, a silly one-act, concurs.
At the carnival, each child's cheek becomes
a rainbow. God, grant me a brighter myself.
Each breath, a game called Live Forever.

I am small. Don't ask me to reconcile
one shadow with another. I admit—
paint the dead pink, it does not make
them sunrise. Paint the living blue,

it does not make them sky, or sea,
a berry, clapboard house, or dead.
God, leave us our costumes,
don't blow in our noses,

strip us to the underside of skin.
Even the earth claims color
once a year, dressed in red leaves
as the trees play Grieving.

Source: Poetry (May 2007).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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May 2007
 Dora  Malech

Biography

Dora Malech grew up in Maryland, and earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her awards include a Clapp Fellowship from Yale, Capote and Teaching-Writing Fellowships from Iowa, a Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship, and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Malech's poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry London, and elsewhere. She is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean (2010), and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Living, Social Commentaries, Landscapes & Pastorals, The Body, Youth, Nature, Gender & Sexuality, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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