I’m wearing a bright scarf today,
Looped twice, draped loosely,
Too bright maybe.
Orange and purple, pink and blue,
But mostly orange.
With coral lips and a hint of doubt.
“Is it too much — all this color?” I ask.
“Definitely not,” they assure me,
These older women,
Whose staunch philosophies
Involve never leaving the house
Without donning lipstick and earrings.
Because “You never know
Whom you’ll meet when you go out.”
Another woman, younger, recalled
A character from a novel she read,
A boring matron who never wore lipstick.
Her eyes looked far away
As her naked lips formed the words,
“I don’t want to be boring.”
And as much as we long to be seen
For what cannot be seen
And loved for what we hold in secret,
We, fearful of being unseen entirely,
Resort to refining a public projection,
Someone exciting, a master of self-care
Because you never know
Whom you’ll meet when you go out.