Ivan Albright’s American Beauty, Transformed

Julie P. Center

Albright can make miracles out of mirrors.

Ida says, “I need the money, so make me old,”

and the dollar sits on the table

while the pennies wait patiently beside.

Just a pretty face

and a child-sucked chest with

nothing inside.

“So make me old. Give me imperfections

to hope for.”

The mirror waits for the truth.

The soul of Ida, revealed

in each crease in her thighs,

each vein in her high-heeled ankles.

Albright tilts her head

and forces her to look in the mirror.

Behind his shadow-made eyes,

“See, the woman you will become.”

Ida looks, and sees, “I am beautiful now.”

So sorrowfully beautiful,

wrinkles can make miracles out of Ida.