The Opposite of the Body

Of the face in general, let me say it’s a house
built by men and lived in by their dreams.

When you’ve been plucking eyes
out of the floorboards as long as I have,

you’ll see this, just as you’d see
the patience it requires

to render an eyebrown, half an hour
and an understanding of architecture.

When you see your body,
think its opposite: not the bridge,

but its lighted face reflecting the water,
some other city as seen from a ship—

your forehead, once ponderous,
now light as umbrellas—

still not beautiful enough to make time stop.
The pleasure in being a woman’s

knowing everything’s borrowed
and can’t be denied,

as when you take apart a clock,
there’s always another inside.

Robin Ekiss, “The Opposite of the Body” from The Mansion of Happiness. Copyright © 2009 by Robin Ekiss. Reprinted by permission of The University of Georgia Press.
Source: The Mansion of Happiness (University of Georgia Press, 2009)
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