Last week she was a pop up girl,
pouting prettily by a brand new car;
next week she might be tossing seaweed in a wok
for customers who idle by the counter, staring at the pretty
in the poster behind her.
The big chill
of realization, swarming tremors,
as she hands over their wrapped takeaway,
fast food, like fast beauty,
gobbled right before her eyes.
The once-pretty won’t be able to say
how she recognised the moment
– perhaps it’ll be a quivering eyelid,
where once there was covetous attention –
that shudders her through the thin door to silicon.
Fat sucked and re-injected
in the nick of time, she thinks,
needle threading her skin, erasing flaws,
stalling fine lines that may be
blurring her future.
The man with a scalpel in his hand is god.
Pretties face their new Dorian Grey illusions,
poised beside each other in a startling symmetry;
this engineered beauty necessary, they are told,
for wealth and sexual power, recognition.
But there’s a risk in seeking
cosmetic artifice, believing the promises
of counterfeit consultants; the danger
of the arrow that may pierce mistakenly,
prematurely, call time.
© Afric McGlinchey
The cost of being 'pretty' in Thailand
Afric McGlinchey won the prestigious Hennessy Poetry Award (2011). Her début collection,
The lucky star of hidden things, was published in 2012 by Salmon Poetry.