I wake up before you do
and watch the sunlight glide across your face.
I count the stubble at your jawline.
Yesterday the hair was four tenths of inch long.
Today it is five.
I do not close my eyes to see if I can still recall
the placement of each freckle.
I memorize every pore.
I greet everyone the same: Vaguely.
I do not know if I know you.
Strangers think I am unusually friendly
and friends think I am aloof.
All my friends are weird.
A face full of metal: Nose stud, lip ring, pierced eyebrow.
My best friend in fourth grade had three ears.
Dyed hair and deformities. Port wine stains are my favorite birth marks.
Normal people slip away like sand through my fingers.
I can’t make friends with people I am scared of losing.
That’s what people say when they have sudden realization.
I say it thirty times a day.
Sometimes I practice it in front of the mirror.
Late at night I creep to the bathroom
to peer in the mirror,
to memorize every pore.
I perch on the bathroom sink,
toes curled up in the drain.
Millimeters from the mirror, I
poke and prod. Flesh
under my fingers could give way.
I could mold a new face and it would be the same to me.
Mik Everett is an American Regionalist novelist, essayist, poet, and author of several short stories. She is a former bookstore owner, logic clinician, and model, and currently makes a living as an author, editor, and florist. She lives with her daughter in Wichita, Kansas, and is a coordinator at Syntactics Literary Development Group and an editor for Kleft Jaw Press. Her most recent novel is Memoirs of a Homeless Bookstore Owner.