Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Trial By Looking By Juanita Rey

Your parents give me the onceover.
What color are the lips
that have sucked so deeply on your own
or the nails that have scratched your naked back?

I try to look my best.
Civilized at least.
But I’m unnerved by their eyes.
What if something grotesque is showing?

This hair has been combed
to the full capability of plastic teeth.
There no creases in this blouse
and it’s buttoned to the throat.
Sure, the jeans are tight
but, thankfully, my skin is tighter.

The truth is, if I’m to get on in life
I must fashion myself
in the ideas of others.
No animal looks,
no feral mating fervor.
Yes, there may be a grandchild someday
but assuredly a virgin birth.

Meanwhile, I must find a virtue in politeness
that was never there before.
They must find a virtue in me
that politeness never could.


Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. Her work has been published in Mixed Mag, The Mantle and The Art Of Everyone.