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Beauty Mark

Allison Burris

My aunt said I looked like Marilyn Monroe.

The same mole above the lip. It had to be that.

I didn’t have the curves yet, the voice, the smile.

But this was a later assessment, because I didn’t know

who she was talking about, couldn’t protest

that my hair has never been dyed platinum flash

and when I walk there is no jello on springs

and when I sing, the words don’t sound

like a strummed secret.

But I watched her movies closely, memorizing the overture

in How to Marry a Millionaire, played Some Like it Hot on repeat

durings road trips, my brother and I huddled

over the portable DVD player as brown California hills rushed by.


There is something sad I’ve given her after reading her biography.

I pretend I can see her yearning through Lorelai Lee.

The diamond tiara. The opera gloves. The comic timing.


There’s not much of a resemblance between us

—but there was a moment

I twirled and sent the hem of a circle skirt into a carnival of cartwheels.

Yes, I thought, finally—

Allison Burris grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently lives in Oakland, California. She received her MLIS from San Jose State University and her poetry appears or is forthcoming in After Happy Hour Review, Passionfruit, Opal Age Tribune, Avalon Literary Review, and elsewhere.
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