Every night,
she tucks her gender
beneath her gaff,
pulls on her opaque hose,
slips her fake tits
into an artfully-padded bra
and starts to get
with a rainbow palette
of pancake makeup:
foundation to cover up
her roughness,
tubes of creamy
lipstick for her pout,
matte eyeshadows to
highlight and accentuate
what mascara can't do alone,
fine strokes of a brow pencil
to define more womanly arches,
acrylic nails for a smoothness
that isn't quite her own,
and glitter to give her sparkle
so that she matches her gowns
of silk and taffeta
which she decorates
with bugle beads of every color
and shiny sequins
to add a little flash,
and then
she drapes herself in
feather boas,
silver-coated tiaras,
and all the rhinestone
costume jewelry
she can find,
and with this
plastic mask,
she walks onstage
and mouths a disco welcome
to a nightclub full of
us filthy queers,
renegades of
the Yellow Brick Road,
friends of Dorothy
who need her words
and a little bit of
her attitude
to walk us home
and keep us strong

© Jess Zelhart, 2007. Thou shalt not steal.

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