Robin Ekiss

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 eyebrow, 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.



"The Opposite of the Body" first appeared in Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, Vol. 22 (Spring/Summer 2004): 21.