Ghetto Ritual

“For Protection” he says smearing goop across my forehead.
My father is a sculptor,
And I am the wax figure he created.
With the help of his rough working hands,
On my face, he layers-on a sheet of Vaseline.

Staring down at the steaming sink I fear the white rag.
I look melted.

The towel drops and soaks up the lava.
Too hot to ring out, my palms burn.
I let it settle.
“Torey DON’T let it cool down!”
But that means more pain.

Tilting my head back, ready for my agony.
The white rag attacks my face,
The heat dwells in my cheeks.
The microscopic holes suffocate me, restricting each breath.
“Keep it on.”
Pain is beauty as I always say.

Rolling the towel down, I take one last glance in the mirror.
I look brand new. I am glowing. I am smooth.
I feel protected.