an ode to my acne

an ode to my acne
by Swathi Deo Sambatha

She overstayed her welcome after 20 winters
and brought her friends with her.
You wondered if the phrase “beauty is only skin-deep” was literal.

Before you leave your home,
you look at yourself in the mirror and desperately want to touch your
craters and volcanoes, both dormant and active.

Desperate, you scour the web.
They say turmeric and yogurt with a squeeze of lemon helps,
so you become a golden-faced goddess once a week.

Only it doesn’t work in time. You
listen to strangers tell you
“Just drink water and wash your face.”

How cruel it is
to be born in an age where “good skin” is the new makeup.
But you must hold your head high.

Walk with confidence because you carry on your body
the memories of fiery suns gone to dust
and the births of glorious stars.

In the end, you must remember that you are not the moons Io or Callisto,
you are Juno herself,
the Queen of the Solar System.

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