11 January 2004

Penitence, A Reflection

The girls begin to fall away like petals,
like brittle shingles from the roof in wind
as if to prove that they will only settle
for less. Before a mirror they stand, their skin
translucent in the neon lights, their pale
blue veins like roads across their tiny thighs.
Too dark, they frown, too much. And turning their frail
heads upon their laddered spines, with narrowed eyes,
they calculate their daily intake, each bite
another bead along a string of sins
against herself. Today a pear, tonight
she’ll go without to counter the extravagance
of fruit. They’re crumbling beneath the weight:
repentance and desire, Hail Marys in each empty plate.

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