yours, just the same

perhaps you believe that i do not see what you see
do not know that my body is formed of shapes that
rarely appear spontaneously in nature
and i, walking, passing
draw my lightly reddened lips to a thin crease
staring at my telephone as if i did not notice
the reflection there which was mirrored
in your slightly horrified eyes

(did you know that you cannot buy a razor
with food stamps?
or soap?
or toilet paper?)

i saw it, of course
the same one i watched just this morning
as i carefully tried not to stick my eye
with the brush of my mascara
because when I do that
as i sometimes do
those sharp black tips bring forth tears
that quickly run in grey rivulets
down my cheeks
dripping on the blouse
i just paid five dollars
to have dry cleaned
more, incidentally
than the thing cost when i bought it
at the charity shop where they are at least
polite enough to my face
to call me as i wish to be called

(do you ever wonder where violence is born?
having absorbed this, i remember)

the words you lofted in my general direction
so careful to appear just off target
fell heavily in my path
lay between us as if one more barrier
was all it would require to keep us separate
i know that despite what we might want to believe
few will think you wrong
certainly not anyone
in position to affect your comfort
do you perhaps think you are the first
to offer me such gifts?
the first to point out that we
are surrounded by mirrors everywhere?

(we all need our illusions
mine, that i am at peace
yours, just the same)

– gemma seymour-amper, 18 october 2012

The Seal of Yin-Haan