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Against Vanity

ISSUE:  Fall 2016


Away from the cruel magnification
            of a shaving mirror, I clean up well.
I am content with orange teeth and salty
            skin, with having borrowed my beauty 

            from the ocean. See my kelpy eyes, the pearl
on my tongue? Flatter me, flatterer! I still care 
            about dignity, like a blindfolded duke
being led to the gallows. It’s hard not to smile 

when you have so little—brainholes from memories
            happily burnt away, little bags of pills still 
tucked away in mattress coils. Flatten me,
            flattener! Can you imagine me singing 

            from the top of a minaret like a singing
flag? Me blowing away sin like an eyelash? 

Sometimes I almost think I could. Listen
            for the silences under my words, then 
translate them into touch. Snakes sample
            the air before moving into it, but men lack 

            this luxury. Every place I put my body
threatens to pinch it open. Safety depends 
            on what we consider home: a house, a mouth,
a honeycomb. I am a means to an end, all

chisel mark and dusty rock. Behold
            the absence of grief on my face, the drizzle 
of sun in my beard like bees stepping
            through gunpowder. Bite into my skin 

and behold the blood. It appears so swiftly, so
            certain, like it was waiting there all along.



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Allen Jones's picture
Allen Jones · 7 years ago

Thank you for this. Beautiful, beautiful work. 


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