Look into eyes to examine skin surfaces, layers of epidermis arrayed like halls of mirrors.  As a child, their distortions produced delight marbled with queasiness.  Each one a different iteration – impossibly short and fat, impossibly lanky, collages of light chopped and screwed -- versions of hide that never felt like home anyway.

Now cameras flash, flatten possibilities to the power of zero, allow a single signature imperfection amongst a sea of bland pores, a way to prove you are really human and not airbrush, not photoshop, not some CGI tech’s pixelated wet dream. 

Food intake is monitored with sad exhalations and stimulant stares.  Dead eyes reflect sparkling seas from charter planes.  Brittleness is not nurtured, is disallowed, excepted from impact by constant motion. 

There are other possibilities that never make it from mind to lips, never cohere beyond vague state fair fun house recollections.  A series of choices one after another, dominoes clicking into place, collapsing with a single breath of lack. 

Eyes linger on tabloid paper, paired envy in the millions.  How could that excess of feeling not produce some physical manifestation?  How can such coarse beauty remain fresh, forever renewed by a failure to acknowledge any alternative?

There is no loss or gain in this world, just reflection upon reflection in fragile glass.  Prismatic crystal, kaleidoscope thighs, nonsense words escaping through fevered lips in a dreamless sleep.  Misheard profundities, misunderstood proclamations, obsessed with capture.  Books always at hand but never read, mental images cultivated and focus-grouped same as physical. 

Wake in a new bed each day, to a new life, a different angle of calibrated light piped through spotless windows.  “Home” stretches and narrows – the absence of the singular privileges multiple interpretations.  There is really no difference in the practicalities of Tuscon and Spain, handlers smooth difficulties to a frictionless sheen.  Look out the window, examine the world, shiny sanded-down to reflect only self, empty strip mall storefronts, bankrupt conception.

Neal Kitterlin lives in Matteson, Illinois with his wife and daughter.  He has work published in PANK, Housefire, and elsewhere.  To the best of his knowledge, he has never been in a room with a supermodel.  Find him at or on twitter @NealKitterlin.


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