for David Trinidad

In bold black type among grayer headlines
All Time High—Maybelline Stock Hits 60,
Board Acceptance of Buyout Thought Likely.

It wasn’t in my nature to accept
her. It wasn’t in hers to be true,
if true means plain. (Made-up means untrue?)
I saw both views, plainly, as children do.
My mother, in her sixties, was older
than my father, more like friends’ grandmothers;
the same woman, who, after hours
at her vanity, with skill and precision
coaxed those dividends to mature luster,
installed herself in her rightful station—
the restored Empress of all Westchester.

Forgoing imitation, I chose instead
to entertain and admire. Talking
as she colored—brimming, redrawn lips,
eyes oddly alert, by a nostril
a shy mole, brows more poised than natural,
glue and pins, lotions and powders to blend—
This one has a dog, I’d say, that one is
getting her second new father; After
I played at the Ostraus’, I was brought
home by their uniformed, negro driver;
Teacher’s having a baby and leaving
class for good in November. She never
answered. All her mind mapped the regimen
of cracks and crevices and conquering.