Military Tuck

by Duncan Farrant

A hesitant shape reflects off the chrome,
Unshaven, disheveled, linty and soft,
And riddled inside, deep into the bone,
Opinions, evasions, subversive thoughts
When stifled and pinned seem only to grow:
Exposed offenses you cover with cloth;
To mask all your faults and maintain the dream,
Run with your fingers back through your seam.

Pull back your politics, pack them in tight,
Skirting the law would unravel the bight
Bound tightly around and squeezing your waist,
While speckles poke out from under your face –
Hormonal markings that chafe when denied,
And residual stores that broaden your sides,
Then watch as your fingers graze your waistband
Scraping the polish when driving your hand.
Follow the creases, crosswise the ground.
Tug your emotions, and pull them around.
A solid ensemble, it regulates well,
But from hiding all this, what does it tell?

It speaks like the others, living the form,
Yet dwelling beneath professional gloss,
Inherently denying the cheat in its shell,
Mimicking only the requisite sounds,
Swimming like fish while breathing on land,
Co-opting allegiance to historical pride,
It forces unnatural shifts from its trace –
With vision corrected augmenting its sight,
The shape in the mirror cannot be true.
Or simply, perhaps, that figure is you.

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