Mood: exiting stage left | Drinking: tea, naturally
In honor of the impending neuroses of swimsuit season, I have a six-part poem for you…
The Tyranny of the Mirror
Sometimes I forget how to lie
how to steely stare down
my mirror eye
and convince my reflection
she is good enough,
she is smart enough,
and goddammit, people
Some days I forget that what I see
That what is housed invisibly within,
floating somewhere between bones and skin,
is more everlasting than its cage.
thick around the middle
I think about my body
of unsatisfactory parts.
with no joy
the increasing distance
spaced on either side
of my waist.
I remember when
were just delicious
and bore no correlation
grande y bonita
For weeks now, the Mexican man
behind the counter at the Shell station
has been flirting.
He woos me with free fountain sodas
and appreciative stares.
Finally today he asks if I have a boyfriend
and shakes his head in dismay
when I reply.
“When I come to America, I dream
of meeting girl like you,”
he says, looking up to meet my eyes.
“Strong. Big. Beautiful.”
I blush and pay for my Diet Coke
and all the way home, wonder if “big”
can be construed to mean “tall.”
The “Diet for Dummies”
costs $40 to download
and I pay the price
print out the menu
that reads “broiled halibut”
and “carrot sticks,”
dream of slimming body image
solutions while couching
in sweat pants, munching
white cheddar Cheez-Its.
Just because you wear new skin
than you did 2,556 days ago
does not mean the old you
has been forgotten.
Cell memory gets passed down
from regeneration to regeneration.
The new cells are born with collective
knowledge and an inferiority complex.
What you focus on the most is remembered,
is held within muscles,
whispered from vein to vein.
Even the smallest of cells knows
exactly how much you hate yourself.
seven years of bad luck
Somehow the tyranny of the mirror
remains through the ages unbroken,
undiminished by intelligence
and the compliments of lovers.
Seven years ago I thought I was fat,
posing for pictures with a cheek-pinching
smile, stomach sucked
concave. Now I see
what that girl never could,
that she was traffic-stopping,
But standing sideways before the glass,
I think that seven years is a long time –
things grow. sag. wrinkle.
To find this woman beautiful,
I will need seven more.
-Lo, whose bikini days are behind her.