Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Alla Through the Looking Glass

To please her
I comb my hair

put on my earrings
and lipstick

Still in my pajamas
I show my face

Like an actress
she says, delighted

Tell me about how you lived
during the famine

—in my mind, a question
I do not ask

She says
that the wild strawberries are in season

that she splurged on a pair of
secondhand slippers

that my cousin—the prettiest girl
in town—can’t get a date

Men her age are all married
or else they went to war

Lips like a pair of crayons
bound by rubber bands

I look at myself
an old woman

Lips like a pink sea mollusk
doing a wedding dance

She looks at herself
a young woman

Double this, double that, momentum transfer
from her palms to mine

on FaceTime
a salute to chance

the resilience of genes
the disquieting miracle of survival  

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