47

after Nathan Brown

To the touch, my face feels
like a bloated marshmallow
when I wake, the kind
about to slip its skin over fire.
Puffy, warm, loose. Not so
fine lines and nearsightedness
combine to make memories rise.
My mother’s voice in her late 40s,
50s, 60s, 70s, before her vanity
on a small red-cushioned
wrought iron stool
in the master bathroom,
magnifying mirror parked
like a goblet of mercury.
Hearing my morning approach,
lifting a folded, cold wash cloth
off her eyes, wide blue and bright
with disgust at her body’s betrayal,
she would bark, “Look at these eyes!”
and jab an accusing finger
at the soft face, not the mirror,
that has always loved me.

2019

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