Reading Ovid at the Plastic Surgeon’s

By Emilia Phillips Emilia Phillips

I scarcely dared to look
to see what it was I was.

No one else with a book, the slick
weeklies gossip amongst

themselves on the side
tables as the ticker rolls the Dow

Jones down down down under
a profile of the marathon

bombers (the older, a boxer). Jove
argues for the removal of a race

of   peoples that do not please
him: What is past

remedy calls for the surgeon’s
knife. They will take a hunk of my

cheek (cancer) & though I can’t
see during the procedure, I imagine

the site as an apricot, bitten.
This is a survival mechanism —

romanticism. David says,
If you’re out

in public & you don’t want anyone
to talk to you, bring a book

of poetry. Even as I enter the confidence
of   the room, I avoid my reflection

in the window, for there, most
of all, I see myself as only I can,

as only the eye will have me —
as light, as light alone.

Source: Poetry (December 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2013
 Emilia  Phillips


Emilia Phillips is the author of Signaletics (2013) and the forthcoming Groundspeed, both from the University of Akron Press. She teaches at Centenary College and edits interviews for 32 Poems.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, The Body, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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