Angela Allen

Sihlouette of a giraffe and brushy trees against an orange sunset background

Might the massage guy
frown at her feet—
those calluses and corns?
Scorn bouquets of veins
blooming on her limbs,
a scattering of scars
afloat on her body,
half-moon birth stain
above the sacrum?
The way of all flesh:
a flotilla of flaws.

But he was a blind man,
smoothing her skin,
kneading away crumbs
of pain, pressing
the collarbone
with two fingers,
while lifting her neck,
urging it lightly to the right,
asking for the full weight
of her head to sink
into the bowl of his hands.

By the end, she was
a Masai queen,
more graceful than the giraffe
in her mind, neck stretched
like a silken slinky,
in shimmering stacks
of brilliant beads,
lips parted, teeth lit
by the waxing crescent
of an African moon.