mirror-image

zabicki_5

i treat white words and black smiles as one
when the moon looks like a lamp,
a river of despondent virtues
&potential sins,

i look like a mirror, an image of an image,
drinking from the same chalice
as a millennium of systemic subversion, my stigma
is attached to my body, and
i carry it around like a baby
in a cradle, like a queer impulse
of my hope, like open eyes that
do not shut in the dark, like my skin’s
craving and engravings on my skin.

i do not mix
love
(as reductive as it is)
with pity,
i do not change my face
as i once did, i pickle my smiles
and feed them to your glances,

i am an expression, not either, nor both,
but all at once, the first one twice, the second
in intervals of time (joined to my hip),

i am a hole to take you in, to engulf
and succumb to this impulse
to see death, in its non-binary
view — this itch to know,

and to know well,
that i am the one, who
i am, who i see,

without a mirror, without the sky,
not transparent, nor opaque,

but still visible in the shadow
of my own light.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image Source (Hand Mirror by Gwendolyn Zabicki)

For my prompt at dVerse Poetics this evening, where we are celebrating some amazing Black poets, as part of the Black History Month. I’ve tried to emulate Audre Lorde’s style in A Woman Speaks and used one of her lines (in italics) — “I do not mix/love with pity.”

10 thoughts on “mirror-image

  1. Thank you for the Nina Simon song, Anmol, which I haven’t heard for a while. Thank you also for your amazing poem, which is so personal and yet so universal. It’s an honest poem, with a quirky structure and imagery. I like the lines:
    ‘…my stigma
    is attached to my body, and
    i carry it around like a baby
    in a cradle, like a queer impulse
    of my hope…’
    and
    ‘i do not change my face
    as i once did, i pickle my smiles
    and feed them to your glances’.

    Like

  2. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    A magnificent illustration for your prompt. Your words shimmer with power and truth, transcending just the black experience to pertain to all victims everywhere.
    I like the lines /to see death in its none-binary view/, ?I treat white words and black smiles as lone/.

    Like

  3. i pickle my smiles
    and feed them to your glances, – this line stood out for me, it seemed to compliment the image in an image so perfectly. feeding something to a feeling we want in response. such a powerhouse of emotions written with such imagery, you really impress me.

    Like

Here is where you tell me something...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s