Girls On the Town, 1946
[Elvira H. D., 1924–2019]
You love a red lip. The dimples are
extra currency, though you take care to keep
powder from caking those charmed valleys.
Mascara: check. Blush? Oh, yes.
And a hat is never wrong
except evenings in the clubs: there
a deeper ruby and smoldering eye
will do the trick, with tiny embellishments—
a ribbon or jewel, perhaps a flower—
if one is feeling especially flirty or sad.
Until Rosie fired up her rivets, flaunting
was a male prerogative; now, you and your girls
have lacquered up and pinned on your tailfeathers,
fit to sally forth and trample each plopped heart
quivering at the tips of your patent-leather
Mary Janes. This is the only power you hold onto,
ripped from the dreams none of you believe
are worth the telling. Instead of mumbling,
why not decorate? Even in dim light
how you glister, sloe-eyed, your smile in flames.