Vanity, by Susan McLean
Vanity is such a silly vice.
She drapes herself in velvet and brocade.
Her long blonde hair and rope of pearls cascade
below her waist. She doesn’t ask the price
of cutwork oversleeves adorned with braid
or diamonds glinting on her hands and brow,
not stopping to consider when or how
or in what coin the piper must be paid.
At first her upturned chin and downcast eyes
suggest that she’s embarrassed to be scanned,
an icon of reserve and modesty --
until, on close inspection, you surmise
she’s glancing at the mirror in her hand.
The man I live with thinks she looks like me.
This poem was originally published in The Best Disguise (by Susan McLean. Evansville: University of Evansville Press, 2009).
Susan McLean, a retired professor of English, has published two books of her own poems, The Best Disguise and The Whetstone Misses the Knife, and one book of translations of the Latin poet Martial, Selected Epigrams. Her poems have appeared in Measure, Mezzo Cammin, Able Muse, and elsewhere.
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