A Mask is Not a Face
by Dominik Parisien
My skinless daughter is sewing a mask from broad-winged butterflies. She lures them with lemon peel, milkweed, goldenrod and sand rolled in a ball balanced on her tongue; snaps her mouth shut like a flytrap when their wings touch her palate; chuckles as their tongues suck at air between her teeth before she does what she does with them. Pierced by copper-headed pins, they cover the table like newspapers for a papier-mâché collage (she sometimes dips her fingers in flour and water and lets the mixture dry like skin that cracks when she moves). I have heard it said (poor girl) that she looks like half a blood orange like Mars through a telescope like the underside of autumn leaves and roadside carrion. But when I ask and even when I don't she lies, says Don't worry and I'm fine and keeps sewing that butterfly mask (such a pretty thing such a smiling thing) with its too-bright eyes and its too-wide lips. I would tell her a mask is not a face it is a lie but when the wings are all sewn and a lace knot tied behind the ears she hands me the mask, says Here so you'll smile more.
Dominik Parisien prefers reading over sleeping, a useful trait for an insomniac. His poetry has appeared in inkscrawl, Stone Telling and Here, We Cross and is forthcoming in Star*Line and Through the Gate. His favourite fruit is the pomegranate, although the fresh figs he ate while in France still haunt his taste buds to this day.
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