AFTER DARK #1: Mirror Stage

Artwork by Sorcha Avalon Mackenzie
Artwork by Sorcha Avalon Mackenzie

It’s happening again, me picking up the ash

with tissues softer than my skin, sipping

out of the glass when it’s been poured

too full. Nothing will be wasted, no drips,

they’ll be wiped away, soaked into the cloth

I carry. I open my mouth to create a new void,

a gap for my thoughts to be spoken

somewhere down below, perhaps it’s that endless

pit you eagerly spoke of as I sat on the bed

adjusting my thighs to ease boredom.

This hole has since become deeper.

I knew you were never handsome enough to join

my family. So I’ll sing to my bones,

as brittle as they are, a straight back can’t fix

the leak in my mask, cracks as real as glitter

sparkles, even with the lights turned

out. There will always be a new globe, spinning

and purchased with the increased limit

on my credit card, oh how red it is, femme fatale,

such a sultry plot device, why aren’t there more?

Even though you watched me collapse in my silver

high heels, my hands are still here to offer balance,

they know how to loosen the rope you knotted

around my wrists. I have, I confess, melted

myself down for you, like heated wax

I am reforming. Surpassing my mirror stage,

I now choose to flicker in the minds of others

with my long fingers willing to hook into anybody

other than you. I’m stepping out of this window

I’ve so carefully framed and arranged

myself in. The doors are wide-open, watch

me pull my own strings, like a good, blinking

little doll, dressed to floor, hovering

in white array with a pocket for my notebook.

 
 

Mirror Stage was first published in Autumn Royal’s She Woke and Rose by Cordite Books. Pick up a copy here.
 
 

About Autumn Royal 1 Article
AUTUMN ROYAL is the author of the poetry collection She Woke & Rose (Cordite Books 2016). She is currently completing a PhD at Deakin University, where she teaches creative writing.