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Dressing Before a Mirror in Morning

I look at myself

because it is what you would do, it makes me

feel close to you.

For months only your silence

for company—the lack,

in that way, reliable.

It hovers too long

like a man in the room.

Light from the window slips its flush

fingers under my blouse.

At my hip, gold hairs rise

like good pupils. The mirror bright

and eager as an eye.

I have learned to be

a watched thing

through years

of your gaze, you who claimed

you could stay

hours waiting for the flash

of my skin between

buttons, who took

such clear pleasure in it.

I felt

like a god, or at least a woman

one might love

into suffering.

I fix myself

in that stare. As if I were, as you saw me

once, vital—

a being worthy

of worship, terror.

from Poetry Northwest 12.1 Summer & Fall 2017More by Leila Chatti from the library

Copyright © Leila Chatti
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Leila Chatti Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.