Supine Body in Full-length Mir­ror, Ho­tel Room, Up­per West Side

“All is seen.”—dante's Vir­gil, Inferno, Canto XXXIV

New England Review - - Table of Contents - Emilia Phillips

What star­tles first is that it's there.

Af­ter long hours in the car

when thought seemed seam­less with for­ward

mo­tion, & the body,

a home you left that morn­ing—

& now it's naked & un­yield­ing,

if you'll have it

that the scars know more about your past

than you choose to re­mem­ber—

the ex­act an­gle & slip

of a blade

a nar­ra­tive,

in your cheek you've spent months try­ing to douse

in the gasoline

of a bet­ter story.

& the stretch marks rivulet­ing your breasts, the body's

over­re­ac­tive white­wash­ing, the blot

where your are­ola was once pink. It takes

imag­i­na­tion to say that what's there

in the mir­ror

is what's you—

which is why most crea­tures don't

feel guilt.

Such dirty things

mean­ing pu­rity.

& if they have

mem­o­ries, the form wrig­gling in that claw-trap

is an­other mem­ber of the flock,

wit­nessed. & the doves they re­leased

over your brother's grave wear

sym­bol­ism like buck­shot

in the breast,

un­know­ingly.

All those you've called you.

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