You have no blood”
Father John used to say,
but clearly she had blood,
it ran rich and red,

She bit her lips to feel.
The world revolved through her
not about her,
it was never about her.
It was about, the face the look.

No never about her.

Father John’s forgiving smile. Bile rising.
“Your are so pale”
She recoiled from the voice.

Pale as death. Claret on a veil of frosted ice.
She was pale, even then, as a child,
she didn’t absorb the sun,
she didn’t tan or burn,
as others did.

Light passed through her. Just so,
she never threw more than a weak shadow.
She met the world
in pearl
a ghost already at twenty
when beauty was apparent.

Mirrors reflected light and small splashes of colour.
Lips and eyes but never cheeks
and neck, a weak rose, no more.
Hair that was, in a single strand unseen
(silken strand of a fatal web)
and in mass was only sheen.

She fancied she could see the world move behind her
as she sat staring, a reflection that wasn’t there.
Another night,
a chair
and a mirror.
One hour they said, no more

She made no impression on the world
but impressed a room with grace
and a face that sold and sold
(“So bold” his voice again, cold, chilling.)

And yet they didn’t listen to a word
she said.

When she covered her eyes she saw, what?
Lines? a sadder time than this?
The world in negative through translucent skin.
A spirit, always cared about but never cared for.
Love? in this skin?
an impossible dream.

A scream, just there but held in.
And she wonders.
Is beauty such a sin?

© Dave Kavanagh 2016

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