Vanity By Jordanna Miller


I felt the warm air
clog my lungs as
bedsheets sliced my skin.
The shadows stared,
distorted limbs
trapped in walls
of white bone.
I listened as the room spoke.
The metallic hum of the
sleepy ceiling fan,
sighing of the restless
blanket, being
thrown aside.

Whispers, worming their way
from the bathroom,
pulling me out of bed, 
pushing me through the
en suite door, across
the freezing floor,
Pushing, pushing, pushing.
Until I was in front of the mirror. 
I looked up.
Expected to 
see myself
Instead, I saw you.
Eyes, fragmented rays of sunlight.
Hair, waves of silver starlight.

I reached out,
watched our
hands meet
as my palm
connected with 
the surface of the
cool glass.
                                                              (You wanted to
                                                        spend the night with
I wanted to spend
the night with
                                                    (So, you lifted yourself
                                                                 up onto the 
So, I lifted myself
up onto the
                                                         (and settled down.)
and settled down.
                                                          (Your head resting
                                                              against mine.)
My head resting
against yours.

The next morning,
I awoke with
your cold body 
was pressing
into me.

I found myself visiting you
more often
as the weeks passed by.
Drifting to sleep with you
on my shoulder.
Waking up with you
by my side.
Walking away each day
became harder and harder
                                                    (I couldn't bear the way
                                                   each day started with you 
                                                      walking away from me.)
So, I stopped.
Stopped leaving.
And wasted my time,
wasting away
in front of the reflection.
Staring at you.
Your face, 
like mosaic glass,
smashed all over again.
I'd watch you reach for me,
smile at me.
                                                         (I'd reach for you,
                                                              smile at you.)
And as months went by,
The memory of what I looked like

I would press my hand against the mirror,
and shrivel up with shock and bitterness
every time I was faced with the smoothness
that tainted my skin instead of the wrinkles 
that dapple yours.
The elongated fingers that stuck
out like sore thumbs
instead of the nicotine-stained ones
that repulsed me 
and revolted me
but also reminded me
of the colour you brought into my life.
No matter how unappealing.

I tried to leave, 
I looked back at you,
saw the tears
running down your face.
You wanted me to 
wipe them away.
And I did,
                                                            (I took my hand,
                                                 placed it against my cheek,
                                                        and wiped them away)
for you.
Then, you pulled yourself 
back up onto the vanity,
before falling asleep beside me.
                                                      (Then, I pulled myself 
                                                    back up onto the vanity,
                                          before falling asleep beside you.)

But when I woke 
the next morning,
I found that 
you were gone.
And all that was left
was an empty mirror.
I called your name
and over again.
Hoping you'd appear.
When you didn't,
I ran out of the bathroom,
across floors of burning coal.

I searched the other reflections
in my house,
but each time,
I was presented with 
nothing more
than an image 
of my surroundings.
I had to look in other places,
I needed to find you.
You wouldn't just leave
without telling me why,
without saying goodbye.
(Not again)

I stepped outside,
recoiling as the sunlight
hit my eyes,
blinding me,
And then, took off down the street.
Sprinting, sprinting, sprinting.
Glancing into windows of
neighbouring homes,
searching the side mirrors of cars,
puddles of water.
You weren't anywhere.
I was about to give up,
turn around.
But then,
I heard them.
The whispers.
The same ones that brought me to you
all those months ago.

They dragged me down the street,
past the bystanders
who watched,
with raised eyebrows,
and shaking heads.
Dragging, dragging, dragging.
Before finally placing me
in front of a river.
The one that runs not far
from where I lived.

I crawled over to the edge,
looked in.
Saw you there.
And closed my eyes briefly,
holding back tears of relief,
Found you.
I knew I would.
I knew you wouldn't leave me.
(Not again.) 
Not without saying goodbye.

I ran a hand through the water,
And the sunlit surface of your face
flowed back together again.
                                         (the surface of my face fractured…)

You asked me to lean in closer.
I did.

You pulled
me in
for a

Jordanna is a poet living in Australia. She has been writing since the age of 16. This would be her first publication.


    1. Thank you!! I like this piece too, but I wrote it six months ago and see a few issues with it now. But it’s all part of the writing process, and I’m so happy it was accepted for publication. I think I’ll always have a soft spot for it.


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