Observe yourself in the mirror,
unchanged yet strange,
still shaggy with sleep, startled
at seeing your likeness.
These wrinkles, these graying temples
that you’ve already accepted gracefully
—affable guests who showed up
so suddenly, that you can’t quite recall
just when they initially appeared.
They represent the shameless price required
for this fictitious intimacy with the body.
And now, begin to shave.
The blade, once quick and cold, no longer
glides taut on your skin like the pleasant
lickety-split friction of youthful skis:
you’re forced to stretch your flabby cheek
with your fingers. Don’t despair.
Perhaps if you’re shrewd and willfully avoid
the shameful mark of a nick,
you’ll forget your alliance with your body
has already begun to dissolve.
Translation of ”Afaitat.” Copyright Francesc Parcerisas. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2010 Cyrus Cassells. All rights reserved.