Taryn Fox

Sestina: The haunted vanity

Looking in the mirror for hours
pulling, stretching, analyzing your body.
Nothing is right, it's not perfect. 
It doesn't fit. Something is missing
from your idea of beauty,
the standards you hold for your own vanity.

Step away from your sister's cluttered vanity.
So much could’ve been done with these hours.
The mirror, a haunted place, taunting you with beauty,
a thing you want to have, and can't see in your own body.
But, a smile on your face is the only thing missing.
Now that you're smiling, look again. Perfect.

You line your lips and eyes until they look perfect
the burning for curls in your hair; it's insanity, your vanity.
Stop touching your makeup. What you’d be missing
out of life if you kept spending hours
on self preservation of an image of your body
when you're the only one who can't see its beauty.

You have this idea of beauty,
so you search and strive for perfect
picking apart and hurting your body.
Starving yourself of food and life for what, vanity?
The perfect image? You’ve been working out for hours.

At night you find yourself missing
the times you looked in the mirror and saw raw beauty,
when you felt power in personality, and didn't cry for hours
about dreams that are now nightmares, no longer perfect
visions of life and a future. Now it's just you at the vanity.

About the Author: Taryn Fox is a 20-year-old English and Communication student at Auburn University. Her poems reflect her life experiences in hopes that someone else may read them and feel less alone in their struggles. If she were to accomplish anything with her writing it would be to spread awareness for topics that often are considered social taboo and normalize the conversations around them. This is her first publication.