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November 19, 2018 Poetry

On Getting a Facial at the Strip Mall

Sarah Carson

On Getting a Facial at the Strip Mall photo

My sister has been reading a lot about her pores lately. At the moderately priced tourist town spa where we've met for the weekend, a commercial for the dual action microdermabrasion brush comes on the television above the hot wax station, and she swears their blackhead diagram is incomplete. Meanwhile I am filling out a form about the alcohol content of my daily moisturizer. Meanwhile a warm eucalyptus mist is evaporating above the table. Meanwhile a lady whose name is not Amanda is putting sliced cucumbers on my eyelids, and it is almost exactly like it is on television only wetter, like a salad sitting in salt and vinegar in the back of a refrigerator, like Donald Trump eating Doritos on Air Force One. In the trailer park where my sister and I once rode the bikes our parents bought secondhand from the parents of bigger kids, we ate sliced hot dogs off the same plates as kids we didn’t know, will never know the names of, we ate Doritos a lunch lady stirred into cheese; hot, orange, liquid beef. We ate what was given to us like Donald Trump eats what’s given to him on a gold, on a gold-plated, on a gold-painted platter. Which is why this morning when my sister Googled how much to tip a lady who runs a hot stone along a length of collarbone, clavicle, soft hearth of skin along a jawline, twenty dollars seemed like a lot even if twenty dollars seemed like nothing. Because what is it to be an American anyway if not to keep from others what you don’t need, to hold on tightly to what you never owned, to grasp a cucumber between your fingers and say, What can I do with this except to not eat it, to misuse it, to not even enjoy it? What is it to be American if not to have everything, to have all you want, to want to keep the nothing you don’t have absolutely, positively, unequivocally to yourself.

 

 

 

image: Burst


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