There used to be a beauty
she gingerly respected,
admired like that brittle boned amazement
she embraced before the scorn,
before the bureaucratic games commenced
against her innocence.
Once upon a time she cried
for summer and eternal twilight,
but time can bind and leave behind
like taffy on the boardwalk, underfoot,
clinging to the soles and souls of passersby
in ever ebbing diminishment.
She's so young, so new
to drudgery and compromise,
because she's already outdated;
smaller is the only way to win,
stay thin and dive
into their world,
knowing it won't show 'til she's almost
I drown in her depth,
lungs so inept they hardly exist at all
when even where she walks is more beautiful
(or so they say) than I,
because lately the gravel has been
I only want to hate her
as a sister,
but she's too obsolete for me.
So she chips in pretty
paper flowers burning in china hands,
charred until the scars are sanded clean
that wraith she's borne too long
between her shoulder blades;
"she's a doll,"
they used to say in vogue,
never once aware how right
they happened to be.
Dressed up in sunshine, now,
distracting from a weather-withered frame
with razzle-dazzle reticence
to undress for the camera—
"ten pounds won't be enough,"
she whispers to herself,
knowing I look down upon her skeleton,
heart pitter-patter panicking
into a faint.
Brittle bones, indeed.