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Helena Rubenstein
B. 12.25.1870 Krakow, Poland / D. 4.1.65 New York City

Iím one of those who stood at the foot of the cross
further back, on tiptoe
straining around for a look at the heads of the rest of the crowd
for the sight of one particular head-scarf
one singular profile
with its liquid miracle of eye and paradise of lashes.

Iím of the race that registered
a confusion of cries,
crowns, sinews, fluids
tumbled loosely into breaking patterns:
signs, fulfillments
but kept the central senses nailed to the scalloped gauze of one familiar head-scarf
sighted way up front in a midst of seeming familiars
for whom the great Unexpected, one surmised,
was that no rescue ever came

whereas my type was bumpered from such shocks
by a longing for the fatigued texture of the skin above a cheekbone
just to see it
so extreme, that we cursed eclipse and earthquake both
as intrusions on our hard-won tiptoed point-of-view;
and no moment on earth was ever more unexpected
more unwelcome
more grotesque
than that which saw the so-familiar head-scarf turn away
finally the face it framed to face the crowd
and reveal to us an old woman we didnít know, crying.

Consolation Site: Day of beauty

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