I have my father’s feet

they are ugly I think

manly, wildebeest, sinew and bone

elongated toe as if saying

I am to be placed

deformed and bunion-esque

in shoes that will never fit

much like life, much like life

my father was considered a handsome man

many years women worked themselves into a hot

lather over his ways

perhaps it was a study in contrast

most men his age had already

mortal guts overhanging and could not

string a good sentence together

my father was verbose just as he was

shy and his hair was thick and hung

just so across his scarred brow

it seemed to galvanize the heterosexual piper call

women wanted or maybe they simply

didn’t want to have nothing and he

was nimble with his word play

indeed they forgave him for being

a redhead and if you think that is cruel

you’ve never known one or been one

they are the vilified among our kind

for their pallor and their color

an exotic relegated to rotten

less so in America

there is perhaps still


yet my father, despite his flaming stamp

seemed to cut through the chaff

always though directed toward brunette, for a

blonde would be scared of the redhead


and it is true they have begun to turn away

russet colored men from sperm banks

so my father had a chip on his shoulder

for being red when his father was

dark and swarthy

how then the man who is neither?

I inherited the pallor but not the color

nor the freckles I have some

of my mother in me though

she would say not

now I see it more and more

as she is less and less

snipping me out like

a bad paper doll who has


I miss her even in preparation

for our dissolution

we are quite similar

and just as different

but when I see her eyes in

the mirror I ask

wasn’t I worth trying for?

It is futile to query

the reasons for disinterest

when studying psychology I learned

as only children never understand

the myriad ways we misinterpret

ten people in a room who all see

a different thing

perception then, is a liar and a clown

we should stick to loyalty

but that has fallen out of vogue

I thought being pale I would

age better than my contemporaries

who tanned themselves into oblivion

how I envied their brown

it’s enough to drive you crazy

wanting what you are never

but I am ageing faster

maybe it’s the mercury in my blood

or the grief I don’t seem to be able

to set aside

perhaps I have forgotten what it is like

to be cherished or how to dream

I do not know

but I dyed my hair when the grey came

taunting with its white brush as if to say

here you go, have a sprinkling

you’ve earned it

now my body begins the fiendish process

of cutting off

its estrogen and skin

starts to dull and lose its shine

almost enough to wish for

the discontented pale girl once

lucky I have no lover to


for there is nothing

to brag in my loss of elastic

and sad dumpy thighs

they say you

do not need to have children

to sag

and I can attest

to no live birth

and much gravity

what was once popular in youth

the cleavage

the early fruit

becomes an enemy to

the middle-aged

am I that already? I seem

still to feel like the dancer on stage

earning her moves

taking love between her chest bone

squeezing it of juice

I visited my old studio when I went ‘home’

saw young girls with

long necks and flat chests

I wanted to be them

and also I did not

for it would be tiring to

start over again

with all the expectations and all the demands

there is something

still and good about


but I may have taken it to an extreme

with the quiet of my life

the emptiness of my eyes

if you see me

forgetful and slow

and then to dance

in a fleeting moment

you will understand

it is not easy to accept change

when you have not yet had your time

but forgive me my ugly feet

and look into my eyes

that is where I can still be found

searching for you

among the debris

and the loose ribbons

we kept so perfect

pinned tightly

on display


0 Replies to “On display”

  1. I know that as an onlooker, looking in, to most people, what is said is not believed. But… you have this beauty that when trying to compare to others, one cannot. And that, Candice, is classic beauty and one that many want to attain and simply cannot.
    And then you can do this with words:
    “now I see it more and more
    as she is less and less
    snipping me out like
    a bad paper doll who has
    I miss her even in preparation
    for our dissolution
    we are quite similar
    and just as different
    but when I see her eyes in
    the mirror I ask
    wasn’t I worth trying for?”
    And that just ups the ante. Peace.

  2. Candice. This could have been ripped right from my own pages. I love how you’ve expressed yourself here. Some days I, too, feel old. Like my body is catching up to my mind. Some days I don’t mind. Other days I feel like if I don’t have my youth either, what do I have to offer another person?? But you know what? I LOVE grey hair. And white hair. And I celebrate the grey in my own. The thing is, I look at you and I see an incredibly attractive woman, both on the outside as well as on the inside. You are one of those rare gems, gorgeous inside and out.

  3. It is an odd lottery of the DNA that jumbles two people, Mother and Father, together to make the Child, a bit from one, a bit from the other. Some of the bits take age to reveal themselves. I probably would have my father’s nose, but for an accident as a toddler that broke that eagle beak. Redheads; I have a weakness for redheaded women, legacy of an early love with that fiery top (and, an Irish pedigree dating to before the snakes left), and still a friend half a century on. I also have big toes that make fitting shoes a difficulty, perhaps enhanced by many years of living in warmer climates and wearing mostly sandals. Time has its way with all of us, and an absent, did they read it, might appreciate an update such as yours.

  4. This was beautiful and incredible. If this was your story, I was taking the journey with you through out your life and it was as if I was there along side your thoughts, wishing I had something to say to make it all better.

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