THE SHELL OF REFLECTION

BY ERIC BEENY

Coming in off the runway, her career never taking off, Arianna was beginning to feel like a bird waiting to hatch from a snowball.

It was so cold in there, in that dressing room with those bright white tiles gleaming like the surface of a glacier.

Arianna sat down, looked at herself in the dressing room mirror, and the dressing room mirror began melting slowly, drooping like chrome taffy as it dribbled like a strand of saliva bungee jumping off her lip’s cliff toward the floor, Arianna’s reflection stretching, thinner, sinking underneath her.

She wanted to rise above her reflection, not splash into a puddle of it.

But she hadn’t yet grown feathers.

She got upset enough whenever she cracked the shell of her reflection, back when the mirror wasn’t melting, when she emerged into a world and into a form she felt she’d never seen, but somehow recognized.

She could always sink back into the disembodied womb of her own beauty, bathe in its chrome amniotic fluid, imagining what it was really like outside her body, her head.

But that would ruin the fantasy, how her life would feel as a movie being watched from inside the snowball she felt she was waiting to hatch from.

*

[ Inside a snowball for an egg it would be dark, but Arianna couldn’t watch movies.

That would be too bad, because she couldn’t talk in there either, which was perfect for movies she didn’t want to go with her dad to see, if he would ever even have taken her.

It would be too small in there for speech—Arianna would be too small in there, which meant, if she really was in there, if she really was that small, she maybe didn’t exist yet.

It would be hard to appreciate movies, squinting with eyes she hadn’t yet developed at a small dot of light on the inside of a snowball for an egg her dad’s sperm like raindrops wriggling across the microscope slide of a moving windshield’s translucent outer membrane once fertilized.

It would be hard to appreciate any movie when she didn’t exist in a place that was too small to speak or watch a movie, let alone read dialogue in subtitles of a language she couldn’t recognize… ]

*

If she let that mirror drool all the way down to the floor she’d have to practice unpacking her things, let her feathers bloom, settle in, and never ever fly away.

She just wasn’t ready for all that yet.

Eric Beeny is the author of The Dying Bloom (Pangur Ban Party, 2009), Snowing Fireflies (Folded Word Press, 2010) and Of Creatures (Gold Wake Press, 2011). His blog is Dead End on Progressive Ave. (ericbeeny.blogspot.com).

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One thought on “THE SHELL OF REFLECTION

  1. […] The Shell of Reflection, by Eric Beeny, is live at A Minor. […]

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