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New Poetry by Saoirse Reynolds

Briefly

I knew him for a couple of years

Briefly

He dated a friend of a friend

But I knew him before then

Briefly


He would smile, mostly

In passing

He would speak, sometimes

And was funny

At least I think.


Remembering is hard

I never knew him that well

In the end

Didn’t say goodbye when I left

It wouldn’t matter.

I’d see him in a couple of months


And then it was his funeral.

And I missed it.

He was a year older than me

Or he would be if he were still here

I guess I’m older than him now


When the Mirror Breaks

 

Prologue

I broke every mirror in that house

Not with my fist

But with my smile

Gap-toothed and yellowed from bad habits

And missiles

Mistakes we made in the dark, come through

On my skin

Dinners and desserts protrude boldly forward

Shameless abandon

I’m left behind, I’m left unnoticed

In the fractions of glass.

And no, I won’t think of generations of members past

Or thank God for the weight of my breath

I will break every reflection I pass

The water, the glass, and my mother.

 

The Opera House

I will break my mother at the opera house

At the opera house where she bought a pair of pointe shoes

that didn’t fit me

And that I forced myself into anyways

They pinched my toes, but I pranced in front of my mother

Aren’t they pretty? Aren’t I pretty?

She smiled passively, absent-mindedly, as if she had something better to watch

Somewhere better to be

 

Puberty (Munch) 1894

And then I came across the empty space,

I stopped and gazed at the painting dawned upon the wall.

I saw myself in the frame.

A naked young girl, sitting on a bed’s edge, nervously clutching her knees, protecting her modesty

A large and ominous black figure looming behind her.

I did the normal thing to do whenever staring at a picture of a naked woman, I compared the size of our thighs and breasts. And then walked away with some kind of dignity

But it’s also true that I saw myself in her,

This unnamed muse. On display for everyone. Her blueness and nakedness, in contrast with the brilliant colours wandering about the room.

 

Beach

Then at the beach, where my fingers turned white because of the cold sea, she insisted on smearing that pale, thick cream onto my back and legs and arms, and anywhere that might burn under the sun. I’m white enough, I thought. The tan bodies of women and girls decorate the beach and taunt me. When I take off my shorts, bending down and inspecting my thighs for any hair accidentally left unshaven, she watches. I step back, clothes crumpled and discarded on the sand, and shield my eyes from the sun. I miss when I could strip down to my bikini at the beach, unaware of onlookers, with a belly full of food, before the stretch marks and cellulite came. Or perhaps they were always there, the only thing that has changed has been my perception of them. “I’ve got to fatten you up!”, she laughs lightly. She means no harm; it must be a compliment. It’s a good thing, I suppose.

 

 

 

 





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