no place for my shoes, i
am sunsick in my best friend’s bathroom
while she is
straightening her eyeliner
in the mirror.
her father will never
fix the one cream-colored tile
that is cracked in the corner —
but on this day, she tells me
that the room is eventual;
projection is the act of
turning things into projects.
we are july-hot in the woods,
she is dotting her lips with
i put my shoes in her bathtub and
we sweat under the iron
as i straighten her hair out
and it slicks against her neck,
caught in sticky sweat, like
bugs in amber.
she has not occurred to herself
as beautiful yet;
and i am standing picking at my clothes,
running comparison tables in my head —
as if i could eventually uncover
the formula to explain the seeping dissatisfaction;
a matter of division,
one self here, another there — i could be beautiful too.
“i can’t get the lines straight,” she says to me,
and i agree.
EHLAYNA NAPOLITANO is a poet and editor. Her chapbook, “Penelope in the Morning,” was published with tenderness lit in 2018.