I waited for her image to appear in the mirror.
I sensed her scent in the trapdoor within my body.
She hollered against all of her ghosts and got lost
And entangled and I shoved my own heart into her
I swallowed her voice and gave her
Agony a thousand names. I moulded a mask with
A beaten mouth. I baptised us both with misery.
I thought we’ll be together, identical, facing every
Maybe we wanted to run away from one another.
Maybe our bodies weighed too much, all that
Invisibility. They conjured and cursed and our legs
Would spread and our heads would shake nonsensically
And we’d be misguided, thinking it’s us, how could it be
We let shame and disgust enter our bodies.
Artifice desecrating our skins and innards.
We were dolls and they choked us with our
Cut strings. She was the one starting to point
Fingers, almost killed herself with her anger.
And I felt it too, burning inside of me.
But I had to face myself too. What is it
That haunts my head and orders my body
To obey and to nod and to absorb everything
That spreads like poison and dysfunction?
Her death shot straight into my spine.
Her voice howls underneath my lungs.
I rid myself of apologetic songs and defensive
Litanies. I speak my own language and
Lay down my false faces and smiles on my own
“The Bather” by Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905)