1 wear something tight but not too tight are you sure
you want so much skin in the frame not that we want you
to respect your body not that
we want you to be all bottled up & faux-puritan release
your inner sex symbol they all know you’re a slut
anyway they all know that you ache to be eaten up raw
2 we want everything to look as spontaneous as possible so
remember to face the natural light put on your best candid
effortless smile if that doesn’t work don’t worry too much
you can always shine a flashlight in your face & pretend
it’s your own, personal halogenic sun you can always
take a hundred shots & try to try less hard each time
3 nose too big? eyes too small? don’t worry, there are apps
for that! erase all your zits! thicken up your lips! what’s that?
you don’t have dysmorphia yet? have you tried all the new
filters? don’t you want to be more curvaceous? more counterfeit?
more manufactured? don’t you?
4 babe, you have to be kawaii no, you’re a bad bitch no
—but listen! you can be both! you can be a fabricated faerie
if you want! you can be a silicone chimera if you want! (look
at you, basking in empowerment,, so audacious,, so entitled,,
so self-centered,, look,. look)
5 curl your lashes stick your tongue out roll your eyes back
pucker up no, this isn’t navelgazing i just want you to be trapped
in your most synthetic form features blemish-free & frozen like
some evanescent aphrodite sure sure i constantly compare
my face with my face too it’s just instinct in a dog eat dog world
Sal is a freelance poet, editor, and translator living in New Jersey. Her work has been published in Vagabond City Lit, Yes Poetry, and Lunch Ticket, among others. She currently edits poetry for Heartburn Review and prose for The Augment Review. She is also the founder of the InkBeat Open Mic Night, a space dedicated exclusively to high school students who wish to showcase their creative talents. Sal curated a bilingual anthology of ekphrastic poetry in 2018, and is currently in the process of compiling her first poetry manuscript.