Friday, March 1, 2019

Women's History Month: Diana Rosen's "Blueprint for Beauty"


She is twenty, 
has two babies, and a divorce from a man
she loves but cannot live with his "mental
un-health." Translation: fists, frightening
the girls, forbidding her to accept a full
scholarship for a chemistry degree. 

The good news:
her mom agrees to take care of the kids 
when she finds work at a doctor’s office 
where he (it was always a he back then)
takes her under his wing and under
the desk for his daily satisfaction. 

He instructs her to be blond, chisel
the Roman nose, risk it sniffing white
powder. Recognizing her manual dexterity,
he teaches her his skills to freshen faces 
for the screen, brighten hope for the newly-
discarded with too much money and too little to do.  

Now she is forty, 
submits to his needles even when it
does not sustain his desire. Her girls, 
bitter about their perceived abandonment, 
appreciate her home-made tiramisu,
the occasional, only occasional, check.

They’re in awe of her continued faith 
in The Church, that she’s avoided laws
governing her un-certified (though well-
trained) skills for those “little somethings”
supervised by cosmetic surgeons for patients
not yet ready for their full menu of services.

Now she is sixty, 
off to the Zumba class, her five-inch-high
red-soled Louboutins click on the sidewalk; 
her colorful tights shape her size two frame; 
her still mostly blond hair frames her wrinkle-less 
face, prick marks painted over with creamy
(imported) make-up.  The doctor? He died,
leaving the wife everything but her pride,
leaving our heroine as deep in denial 
as she was forty years agoNo, there never
was anyone else.  I had to keep my job, for the girls,
for our livelihood. I didn’t know what else to do.

© 2019 Diana Rosen

Previously published, in print and online, by Voice of Eve

DIANA ROSEN is a nonfiction book author, essayist, poet, and flash fiction writer with credits in print and online in journals and anthologies including two upcoming books: “Far Villages,” from Black Lawrence Press which includes her essay on the poet and the process,  and “Love & Irony, tiny stories in poetry and prose” from Redbird Chapbooks. Among her journal credits are poeticdiversity, RATTLE, Tiferet Journal, and Dime Show Review. She lives and writes in Los Angeles where she is a veteran docent for the city’s Central Library. To contact her, write