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.