Cinema Egyptian

Emma Aylor

If it’s a good film, I forget my face.

A shock to see it again so private across the bathroom sink:

yet how lucid the cut

of heat across my cheek, how plain the fretwork of the current season.

Like everything else, it’s a matter of light.

Your looks I recall, render swept, unsurpassably close, brushed

in gilt from their own halation,

work of detail, stroke, soft hair clamped in by ferrule–

I always thought, never tried, to be a painter.

In this state, I remember my face about as well as I can draw

an empty mirror.

Back in the darkened cinema, lips apart, line softened–you a flash

like memory past its tooth, like

a cool coin warming in a well

of green water. Light spreads beyond the edges;

open the latch, woman, with thumb and finger.

There isn’t a thing you can make.

Emma Aylor’s poems have appeared in 32 Poems, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Colorado Review, and the Cincinnati Review, among other journals, and she received Shenandoah’s 2020 Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets. She lives in Lubbock, Texas.