A REFLECTIVE SUBSTANCE
by Prathna Lor
I know that the side of my face is not composed
of a steel plate; I think I still expect a degree
of resistance. Something inside me moves
a little faster than it did the day before
I became aware of your fingers around my waist.
I remember feeling nervous about feeling
in a public area. I hold my hand
to my chest to convince myself
that I am trying to be concerned
about my own well-being. In the mirror
I will try to look past my own reflection.
The faucet will never be quieter
than the sound of my breathing.
I don't remember the last time
when my dog ate its own leg
for a significant source of protein
even though she wasn't in any need
of a significant source of protein, she was just
hungry; bored for something
to gnaw on, slide a tongue around,
push a paw against while the radio played
songs about being left alone
in an aircraft hanger with a paper bag lunch
and stale, tasteless air. I feel relieved
that some of the semen stains
on the mirror can be mistaken
for toothpaste or the saliva that escapes
from my mouth when I practise my facial
expressions, conversational skills,
my 'sex face.'
I know enough not to submerge my hands
in soapy water. Why are you standing
in front of the bathroom mirror
in your underwear
with the door open,
smiling, you will say.
And I won't have an answer.
I'll just look at your feet
and stare at your one toe that seems to be
slightly larger than all the other ones
in a non-judgemental way.