eyebrows waxed

hair cut

external flaws concealed

even online teaching has found a groove

distracting and deflecting requires more effort now

because the only struggle that remains

(the one she has never been able to overcome

the way she conquers everything else —

sheer will

sheer will

sheer will—)

is with the woman reflected in the mirror

whose brushes cannot powder over anxiety

whose scissors cannot cut off the naysaying voices

and whose wax leaves behind the sticky residue

of always believing she’ll never be enough

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