The mirror shows me how my end begins:
expectant paunch ballooning out the skin,
my stomach pushes out the cotton shirt.
Or else my death was born onto the earth
with me and is this shadow I see gaze
out of the mirror’s labyrinth, and fear
is facing my own face that disappears
like shower steam’s evaporating glaze.
Or else I am my death, bloated fat cells
within me are time bombs and the last tick
detonates the body politic.
Or else it’s something more than I can tell:
thing in the mirror, a stillbirth, unsexed,
pushing the belly out. And what comes next?
From Beast in the Apartment (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014) by Tony Barnstone. Copyright © 2014 by Tony Barnstone. Used with the permission of the poet.