Don’t wrap your frame
in other fabrics, disguise
yourself with fig leaves,

don’t paint your face
before you face the world
in the morning; scrub it.

Don’t yield to pressure
to impress with who and
what you are; instead,

unlock the tinderbox
and find the spark, discover
what’s within you that’s

awaiting recognition. Take
your skeleton, grant it
permission to emerge

wearing no more than
flesh, remove the drapes
you’ve used to cover up

the mirror, release it
from its hook and tilt it,
for a moment dare

to catch your own
reflection, be lit by every
flicker and gleam.

After/inspired by the following poems on Via Negativa: “Arguments with destiny: 14” by Luisa A. Igloria, “False Idols” by Kristen-Berkley-Abbott, and “Portuguese error” by Oswald de Andrade, trans. Natalie d’Arbeloff.

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