Raw and ravishing

The mask unsheathed

Revealing something hidden and taboo

Though you were warned

Though you read the signs clearly

Nothing could have prepared you for such

An unveiling of this latest da Vinci masterpiece

So much anticipation has coursed through your views

Adrenaline, cortisone and sweat….

All pulsing in unison to look upon these flaws

To see the genuine slope of her cheek

And to witness the steep angling of her jaw

To see the wrinkle, the scar or the cleft

Whatever this "horrible unknown" is that

She keeps so tightly infused into herself

Stacking the wall higher and higher on all sides

Forming an unwanted gilded cage

Of truths, lies and unwanted agreements

A leaning tower that might enclose the maze

The maze that might surround the safe

Which in turn would defend the fortress

Which might secure the moat

And the snipers and the webs of defeat….

And all of it slides away

Slipping one after another

To form a gradual stream of

Deceit , hate and, most painfully,

Hopes so unfulfilled, so unique

And fanciful that they were never permitted to be viewed

Not even in her own mind's eye.

And now, in this instant,

Not in the worn book of the past

Nor in the blank page of the future

But in this instant, with her pen

Poised right now

Now is when she chooses to

Lower her palms and release,

For the first time, in his sight as well as hers

(God only knows how she needs to be assured she isn't crazy)

She gently allows her hands to fall away

Releasing the secret she held so dear

The fragile baby praying mantis

White, but not pure

A great and terrible beauty

Raw and ravishing

Enticing and honest

Most of all….

Not a mask, but

Her.