Don’t You Dare to Smile, Belladonna

Belladonna’s walk is alert, self-conscious.

Nothing graceful about it, alluring, no.

That’s how she perceives her movement amongst the crowd.

And yet eyes follow her around.


What feels natural fades away in an instant.

Her physicality shrugs.

Gazes glue themselves to her body parts.

Belladonna doesn’t want to hide, yet she feels exposed.


She can only do this walk with make-up on.

Without it, her confidence fails for the wrong reasons.

Without a made-up face she doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

There will be others, gazes are easily distracted, deadened by their superficiality.


Belladonna walks around with an invisible basket in her hand.

Usually she comes home showered, never empty-handed.

What she brings into her sanctuary is rotten though.

She feasts on the afterthoughts without a sense of taste.


She lies on her bed and feels the parts where the gazes went.

Her skin causes alienation.

Belladonna lacks drive.

As she sits discouraged in the middle of her cushions she looks at her childlike hands.


The dead contained by the auburn frames stare at her.

After she survives each night she goes back into the public sphere.

Female minds, turbulence, shake their heads in depreciation, threatened.

Their fury misdirected, coordinated, hammering against their own sex, mistrusting.


Their hands, shaky with jealousy and rage, waving a million leashes.

They won’t be kept at bay.

Belladonna reads their minds and is terrified.

The women think that they can regain control.


Their lecherous men howling their secret language codes, enjoying the ridicule.

Women kill each other first.

Men stand there, gazing, smoking, whistling, causing a spectacle without wriggling a finger.

Their behaviour unchanged, Belladonna walks by, she is not safe.

As she’s out of sight, the male heads unmoved, female feet clopping.


sunlight hitting woman s face
Photo by Wilson da Vitorino on


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