Picture Perfect (Almost)

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Do you take a good picture?
Is your photograph a true likeness?
Does anyone really know what he/she looks like?
Are pictures today too touched-up?

Picture Perfect
(Almost)

It was a beautiful picture.
She looked stunning.
The increasing puffiness under her left eye
Gone.
The furrowed brow smoothed over
And the fuzzy bangs
Now silky.
Everyone commented on how well she looked
In the
Picture.
“You look great in that photograph. Young. Perfect.”
And, it was true.

The problem was
However —
It didn’t look like
Her.
She was not young and perfect
So sorry to tell.

Yet, she liked this likeness of her
Perfect self
The Dorian Gray of her
This once was youthful
Pretty me of her
But, she worried about the continual
Adulation.
It was perfectly irregular. Over the top of truth.

Why did everyone say the picture was
So Perfect
So Youthful
So Beautiful?
She knew the answer
She dialed.

“Edgar,” she said to the photographer
One night late
(An adoring friend who
Never slept — watched old movies)
“Sorry to call you so late, but you know the
Picture, the one of me that you
Said was perfect?”
“Thank you,” he said, missing the point.
“Edgar, I want to take the picture again.”
“It’s beautiful, you liked it,” he said. “Shadow and light perfection.”
“Yes,” she said, “but I don’t recognize
Me.”
“It’s you,” he said. “Silly glamour queen — I saw you there. I took the picture.”
“It’s a fix,” she said. “A gambler’s dream.
A fixed fight against time.
An assured winner.
I want me back
In the ring.
Or at least try me
Just me.
No fix.”

And so they agreed
In light natural
To ban photo-shopping
And to arrange a shoot
No true crime — a mug shot
As if in a lineup
Without numbers
Or guilt
Just a likeness.

So, in a flash
The picture was
As she was.
Edgar wanted to touch-up the
Upper lip shading, just a drop.
Smooth the jaw line, “Darling, just a little.”
“Leave it,” she said.
“Don’t fix it, Edgar.
Send it. Print it. Post it.”
“You like it?” he asked, quizzically.
“I think so,” she said. “I’ll get used to the it of me
For awhile, at least
I’ll try me on.”

Back on the lecture circuit
She went to speak of what she knew.
With this new picture
The face she saw in the mirror
Makeup, mascara, rouge,
Not naked
But true to simple paint
As it was and so it was
That she presented herself.
The best without appropriated defacing alteration.

A woman came up to her
After a talk about a film
A good talk
And said,
“You’re so much prettier than your picture in the catalogue.”
And she said, “Thank you.”
And smiled to her very
Core, for she
Knew her lecture had been a good one
And that her animated true-self, devoted to her craft, was
Better
Than any still touch-up.
She glowed with the satisfaction
Of knowing that it was no crime to be
Less than perfect.

That night she called Dear Edgar.
“Edgar, dear, I love the picture,” she said.
“So be it,” he said. “I think you’re nuts.
You are nuts, but I love you, dahling, to death.
Can we talk in the morning, Lovey?
I’m watching Flying Down to Rio
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, divine!!!”
“Enjoy,” she said
And put on her night cream
Catching a glimpse of an
Older self in the mirror.
To then sleep soundly while dreaming of
Flying herself.

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