Papier-mâché

1 February 2015

This spit-polished veneer has street appeal and is open for inspection. In
these shutter-speed days her family portraits bear the least resemblance to

anything real, paintbox-bright statements, all flourishes and filters – tumbling
and spreading from the news feed’s mouth. And it’s the arrangement that is the

most exhausting – the nipping and tucking, the painstaking placement; all that
sure-footed running with the bulls. What remains of her curls on the editing

room floor, and it’s there that she exhales, stripped down to a wick – hauling
the dead weight of domestic bliss like a cadaver. There, she waits, tracing the

panic room’s button with her finger, as her audience chatters and twitters with
with absent kindness – cutting her a break in digital platitudes; the emptiest of

intimacies. It’s a fragile masking agent, enough to hold the moon at arm’s length
from the sleeping faces of her children; keep the dark sirens, doll-faced and

dead-eyed from making their move – from clambering and twisting their way
out of her, as everything real is stuck, fishbone-cruel in her throat. It’s a complex

deal to strike, and she wonders how it came down to this – all this keeping up
appearances – pasting papier mache strips across this perfect, terrible mess.

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