Agha Shahid Ali
In the mirror, the hand hacks at my skin
It belongs to the child who used his father's
blades for sharpening pencils, playing murder.
Full of cuts, I have the blood-effacing
instruments: water, water, and survival
tricks : I'm as clean
as glass, my brown face glistens
with oil, turns a fine olive green.
There's no return
to the sanctuary
of ripped paper-boat-journeys
This is morning, I must
scrub myself. A college lecturer, I smell of talcum
Old Spice and unwritten poems.
The mirror smiles back like a forgotten student:
The hairs die like ants in the basin.
My reflection gathers the night's dust,
I wipe it with the morning towels.
The girls drape their muslin shawls,
their necks turn on Isadora's wheels:
In the classroom I shuffle like unrhymed poetry
The blade, wet with Essenin's wrist,
waits with the unwritten poem.
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Comments about this poem (Shaving by Agha Shahid Ali )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
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