The teacher left the room for five minutes
and with algebra book splayed open on the desk
You reached into your purse
and withdrew a Maybelline eyelash curler
A medieval cage contraption, only in miniature.
You artfully, dramatically
manipulated your already-curly lashes.
With each squeeze of that instrument of beauty torture
you opened your other eye wide, peering over
at those near you. Who could resist
that fake look of surprise you’d mastered?
Who didn’t envy those large anterior chambers,
blue eyes expressive, half-sad, half-joyful?
First, two or three of us near you noticed,
then in concentric circles
your fandom grew till we were all
barely able to hold in laughter—
Some of it slipped out in giggles, then
just when we were all about to erupt
into rows of laughter—
Sister walked back into the room.
All was silent.
Heads down, we pretended to solve the equation.
You quickly slipped the eyelash curler
Into your handbag.
You kept a look of absolute seriousness on your face–
Seriousness belied by the devilish gleam of your eye.
Girl, you were so damn funny.
Reprinted fron The LongLeaf Pine, April 2016