are too young to use makeup
or talk about cute boys.
Instead, they beckon her
with a bathroom mirror.
Bloody Mary, they whisper
three times, a mantra complete
with strained, fearful giggles
and a dim flashlight.
For a moment, they all swear
she appears in the smudged glass:
A girl with bleached skin, stringy hair
and cracked lips that struggle
to open, to whisper her story,
to explain why she is here, haunting
those who should be asleep.
Then, she disappears.
And all they see are their freckles,
their dimples, their wide eyes.
For years afterwards, they
will see her: long eyelashes
in a car’s sideview mirror,
pale cheeks in a parking lot puddle,
twisted smiles in their compacts,
the ones they all slam shut
at the first sign they are becoming
what they don’t really want to be.
Karen J. Weyant
Karen J. Weyant’s speculative poetry has appeared in Caesura, Devilfish Review, Spillway, Strange Horizons and Whiskey Island. She teaches at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York. When she is not teaching or writing, she explores the speculative worlds of Rust Belt Pennsylvania and western New York.
Artwork: Stephen Mackey, Girl With Masks