Musings of a Makeup Artist

by Lucy Thynne

On the wicker chair I steal a face and give it to
you. I can feel your eyes coolly assess, watch my hands
impregnate your cheeks with colour, cheeks that
I know have been hollowed by the hands of a

woman. If my fingers spoke a language it would be in
great pigments of colour. A moment passes, and then
you are just skin and flesh, my canvas, and I draw cracked
smiles and smoky eyes, shades you never knew

existed. I lather on time. Ignore how later I will have to
peel this back again, a face bruised by six hundred
eyes daring you to make this worth their money.
Sometimes I want to go inside your head, unravel it in

spools of cogs and threads of thought, see if your blood
is changing to the man you will be tonight. If it is
hardening like rind in your marrow, Janus-like, a
schizophrenic of sorts. In the mirror under the soft

electric we both wonder who we’d rather be. A quick prayer
in the temple of your forehead, and it’s your cue, I feel sorry
for you but only for a second. You are an absence of breath,
but somehow we both know it will be alright. Later

I will admire you, my careful work of wetted lips parting
like the red sea, words rising like a lungful of geese, and I
think how they are similar kinds of migration. Words too
heavy for a mere theatre to contain. I know the audience

will be feeling this, tiny hearts ticking like wristwatches,
the human bomb we all are. I know this and return behind
the curtain, a cloth that may as well be concrete,
disappearing as I exit stage-left.