• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 08

Living Statue

Body paint sticks in your cracks and creases for days.
No matter how hard you scrub there’s always a telltale glitter
lurking by a tear duct or in the hollow of a clavicle.

I’m the entertainment - booked on a ‘look don’t touch’ basis
but the guests are all well-oiled by the time I am unveiled
and I’m never certain if it is my stillness, my silence

that so inflames them - or just the magpie attraction to gold.
They cannot resist. Some think I invite their pinches
as I stand before them clothed in little more than pan stick -

they never see the alchemy involved, how I am
transformed, every iota of my concentration turned inward
to shut out their drunken antics and mean words.

Soon, they will flail on the dance floor, harangue the DJ,
or spread-eagle in a corner, snoring, caked in vomit
or huddle in pairs in toilet cubicles, while I collect

my pay (crisp clean notes), then wipe away the worst of it
with Pond’s cream and paper towels, soap and rub and scour
until the real me emerges from the carapace - shiny, cleansed.

But still, the reminder: a speck on my cheekbone, a flake
caught in my bed sheets that will linger there
for weeks.