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I’m sorry, I tried to care
about acrylic nail tips
and the kind of clothes that
go well with my body type
and how to blend
the right colors and prints
and how the shape of glass frames
must take into consideration
the shape of one’s face
and what the perfect accessories are
given the time of day
and whether my coats’ lengths
should end before or after
the hems of my dresses
and what’s up with all those
astronomically priced branded purses
and how many pairs of shoes
could a woman really own before
it qualifies as a crime against humanity
or how few before you start
accusing her of lacking self-respect,

but somewhere
in the gloss-lit distance
between the What’s Hot pages of Cosmo
and the RSVP guest list of the next
“it” party on Sunset Boulevard
all the rules of modern beauty
keep getting discombobulated
in my head and I can never
get any of them right

I can’t get a decent following
on Instagram and my milkshake
can’t bring the boys to the yard

but do ask me
how I feel about the skyline
or to share with you the details
of my last hushed conversation
with the crescent moon
or to tell you the fine secrets
to tap-dancing on a
rain-slicked city street
and I will very gladly indulge you

“E Penny 003” by photographer Nomi Khan


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