Thoughts of a girl on her first season out

I do not recognize this painted stranger.
She is made of powders, creams, and daring.
Her dark, dark lashes flutter like twin fans, and
from her tart’s red mouth spill strange allusions:
things that I could not know, or should not know;
things I pretend not to understand.

Her arching eyebrows crease in concentration,
betraying that her moves are calculated.
She plays all coy; her words are smoke and satin.
Her lies are truths sewn into second skin.
It all seems so effortless, this vast illusion
of nonchalance, when in fact each pause is anxious.

Who is this scarlet woman, daring to dance
so delicately for these men and wolves?
Before my mirror, undressed layer by layer,
beneath the stains and pigments, the glossy armour–
her face, accusing, begs that question: “Why,
need I play this role of child-coquette?”

“Why, really, need I dare pretend at all?”

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