Ponytail Syndrome


deaf sign for beautiful

First published in The Age, 2013


You never recover from the carnival
mirror—you don’t even utter, it hurts here
and point at your heart. It just is.
Inverted reflections in spoons, as long as cereal  
is mornings. As long as sunshine directs rays
toward shiny hair, as long as we grow it
for the shimmer. Your face is a carnation.
In twenty years you might count the layers
Of petals and find more there than what sticks
to the heart of a peony, but not yet.
Please, never search the internet for envy,
it is merely the colour of a prettier tree.
I’m just now understanding that we will never see
anything out of the same silvered porthole:
there is me complaining about the itch
of heat, while you would describe it another way
entirely. Propose it as languorous, as the slow
trickle of perspiration, as the open road
with its floating hazes and there you go
explaining beauty. See a thousand miles
of roadside sights, the sun as telescopes wince
at it, but never see yourself laugh. Not really.