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Façadism, or Cutting Off My Nose to Spite My Face

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The pipes froze so the water won't warm
I get back into bed damp and hope you reach--
you don't. You roll over. You leave. You don't call.
I eat toaster waffles alone and write a list that includes
snoring and how thin you want me. It is now
possible that everything was a lie. By everything,
I mean your mouth and the hairs that reach
your eyes. By everything, I mean all ten fingernails.
It is very late at night and I sneak to your house
to leave the iron on. To run up the electricity bill,
not burn the place down. Small victories,

your lips. Nothing in this house smells of you.
You've only changed a few dirty glasses and
a sheet off the bed. To clarify, I have
nothing to miss you by. The things here are not yours
but not mine either. Not my contacts
by the sink, or my stale bread, or my shoes
by the door. I consider putting everything
on the curb. I want only things you touched,
please. My legs can stay, my breasts can stay,
my nose must go.

I am trying to hate you. So far I kind of dislike
your tired mattress, the duplicate books on
your shelves, the laughter of Mexican children
through the walls, the walk from your home to mine.
The old courthouse halfway between looks old only from the outside.
Inside is all marble and gold, inside is spit-polished
clean the way I too am washing the sand away, rubbing
shoe wax into my joints. I'll take a lover, leave the faucet
dripping, get to work late, start drinking.
You don't walk me to the door. You appear in dreams,
almost. What strange systems of sadness have we arranged.
I look at a picture of your ex-girlfriend and her body is
like mine only more; your mouth, a finish line.
This could be relief.

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I really felt I was there with her...or even was her...as she tried to sort through her life after pain comes. Impressive.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Another great poem from Stephanie Willis. You have a discernible and persistent mood to your work. When I read a piece from another writer or poet that is similar to yours in mood or style, I say to myself "That's 'Willisian.'"

Joshua Hennen
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