she smiles at her subjects,
reassuring them with a wave of her
carefully manicured hand. (her gown
covers her, head to toe, no pale flesh
exposed. long sleeves, high neck, ankle-
length skirt. because the scars are
everywhere.) she laughs gently at
the jokes they tell, responds quietly with
stories of her own.
(when they glance away, she touches
the crown of thorns upon her head,
wondering if they notice the blood
oozing down her face.) then the
smile falls back onto her lips as they
look at her again, stare at her,
barely a moment's reprieve from their
eyes (staring, staring), their cameras,
their wordswordswords. she has to
make them love her, they will love her.