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The cost of beauty

is beyond words. Is beyond your words, at least--
I have not heard you speak on this long journey
to thank your rescuer. I think you owe me that,
but I will forgive your silence, born of painted lips,
a trunk bereft of lung, and plastic head.

For me, the cost of beauty was ten cents,
a dime to pull you from a bin of toys and broken friends
used up. Your smile drew me. A smile that said,
"Go on, tear off my hair. Bare my scalp, and let
the dog rip off my arm and scar my perfect self,

And suffer me the greatest of indignities,
strip me naked, lose my fine designer shoes, and turn
my head around to face no real direction, except
perhaps to see which box contains my arm--
I'll still be smiling. My joy is painted on."

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