The Woman in the Mirror
Her watching eyes are always on me. They police
Every move I make. I see her face
At the most inopportune times.
This morning, while strolling down the street
Past a line of coffee and gelato shops,
The sweet smells of espresso wafting out,
She reminds me to suck in my stomach,
To take up less space. While at the museum
This afternoon, my palms on a cool glass case,
my eyes fixated on some old newspaper article
about Ma Ferguson, her scowling face,
and then there’s mine, my eyes wide,
my mouth agape, my hair a wilderness
my fingers immediately work to tame,
a smile unfolds to soften my face.
I see her while I’m waiting in line,
And I glance down at my phone,
The black screen, my chin almost double.
She reminds me to stand up straight,
Extend the neck like a lamb, sacrificed,
waiting for a set of teeth to sink in.
As I dress for the evening, I stand
In front of the full length mirror
Face her scrutinizing eyes as she reminds me
What colors and cuts make me look
Most like a fragile flower waiting to be plucked,
Blending in with the landscape, quiet, lovely.
When I awake in the middle of the night,
half-drunk with sleep and dream, and I begin
to wander off into the depths of my own wishes
and desires, when I’m just about ready to believe
My sole purpose in life is something other
Than being seen, a moving object of beauty,
Her face reminds me as I stumble in the bathroom,
Flip on the light switch, gaze into her eyes.
This is how the world sees me.
I can’t escape it. No woman can.