Vanity Table

A poem


From the moment I saw you—

your curves and secret places—I was held.

Reflected in your smoky eye.


You languished alone in the cottage

like private faces that once gazed into yours:

arched eyebrows rouged lips,


searched you for imperfections.

Tiny drawers held 1930s hairpins,

tuning forks in love’s symphony.


Carmine lipstick, desiccated as Harlow

rolled in the grave of your cupboards.

Kisses of elbows from girls who leaned


on your Pennsylvanian provenance:

mystery, utility, exquisite glamour.

Your cracked veneer could not dissuade me.


I led you to apartments and auditions

from Niagara to Montreal,

crammed with books and makeup.


Now, I glance less and reflect more.

Wonder where you are, oh vanity?

Lent to an actress, for a sublet.