Mirror, mirror, on the wall

My mother wished me beautiful.

She wished my lips cold crimson,
caring more for their colour
than the words they would form.
She wished my skin white as snow:
pale to match a pale personality.
For my hair she coveted the ebony
of her window-frame – dark and thick
to keep warm an absence of ideas;
thoughts she never wished for me.

Like her window-frame my hair splintered
with age, curled, turned less-than-black,
faded, turned less-than-grey.
My lips cracked
like her dried blood,
dissolved and churned
in snow.
My skin
the dregs of winter
slush – yellowing,
dull, dirty.

My mother wished me beautiful.
Nothing more.

© Hayley Shields 2009