there is a sign taped lazily to her back that reads judge me,
swollen black letters that spiral out at every edge of the page
like beautiful wedding garland.
she is so perfectly aware
of the eyes that aren’t on her
it’s like they’re
all on her at once,
tracing the weakness of her profile,
having philosophical discussions about
the beauty mark underneath her left eye.
she parts the hand-stitched draperies
and steps outside to collect the milk,
to chirp good morning at the sun,
always dressed in golds and greens,
always dancing for her illusions.
on a scale of
one to twenty
her back aches three times her age
and when she isn’t sure
where to look
she stares at a finger, a shoe,
twirls a strand of too-short hair
like a telephone cord.
someone speaks and
when she opens her mouth
only dust comes out.
pretty soon she’s bound to
dig up something more than rubble.
pretty soon she’ll strike gold.