Once a month or so

I sit at my altar

And I pray.


It started when I was thirteen

At the foot of my mother’s bed

She’d pick at my cheeks and chin

With a device that looks like

It could’ve tortured some

Unwitting treasonist

In the medieval days of yore.


She’d say

Let me show you

How to flush your skin

Of its mistakes

Drain it of the stray marks

With the whisk of my wand.


It wasn’t until I was fifteen

I found the tool to become

A workable scab to pick at

Obsess and worship .


I’d spend hours in front of the mirror

Perched on my bathroom counter

Like Victorian ladies in a powder room do

Or, did.


Lancing my face raw

Plucking my bushy brows straw-thin

Scrutinising my nose

Sitting like a mantelpiece

On my face, gaudy and

Clashing with the tapestries

Studded with blemishes.


Subject to the wrath of my

Fine, slender sword

I wage war on my face

Ever the perfectionist


Trying to repair the irrevocable

Thinking my unwavering devotion

And my deliberate hand

Will be faith enough.


Until I resign my altar

Sometime after midnight

With red, wounded visage

Satisfied, like a blind believer.


Article by Author/s
Kaley Klapisch
Kaley Klapisch is a high school senior from New Jersey. She is a Dungeons & Dragons DM and an avid fan of “speed crosswords”. She has been told that she makes a mean blueberry cobbler.

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