My mirror could have lied
but it chose not to.
I asked it sweetly, slowly
to change for me
to change me
into something free and vital,
pale and careless,
white as snow and unburdened song.
I kept staring at the woman in front of me,
dark eyes and hair
twisted and curled together
signaling other and flawed and Different
yellow stars falling on snowy fields
history wrapped in a dark pupil’s blink.
Heat will help, applied directly,
over and over and
smoothing and fixing,
covering hints of Saturday candles
smells of bread and chanted whispers,
wrapped behind a cover of Same and Self and Belong,
inflection and accent swallowed down
depths of languages fading and forgotten.
I looked at you in November, after the world fell
and asked you the question,
can I pass?
Am I covered?
am I safe and normal and complete
showing nothing but pink skin and straight hair?
Covered yes yet always feeling twisted crosses passing over me
like lamb’s blood painted on a doorframe, long ago.
Maia Jacey Frieser is a writer and a PhD student in Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado Boulder. She studied Anthropology and Public Health before finding herself in the genetics of substance abuse. Originally from the wilds of Manhattan, Maia has lived in Montreal and Michigan before breaking her streak of M-names by moving to Colorado.
It continues to snow dust.
The sun comes out of the closet.
Jays enter under the door
jumping over a line of air.
Maybe it was just the light,
cracked somewhere, leaked out,
lucky—I thought you shifted away
in voice, my mouth to hear,
My senses are a cushion, and yet this horror appears to taste my morrow. My alarms are useless because they are on fire with the rest of my home.
Be honest now—
just for a minute; I cried.
I had him locked out—
a perfectly good wish.
Privately, for over a year now you drove off and left me.
The place cooled down beaming and bright—
put my name on a silencer (it’s not the end of the world).
In the mirror, the wooden bust of Christ Nicodemus carved
and Joseph commended to the sea, stares out for reflection.
Only a true spell
of fittingly glamorous phenomena
repaired sunstruck imagination—
Too big for your body, the whale of a bed will go on sale; also the dresser, its
three-linked mirrors tall as sails.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.