selfie in sister's bathroom

#rarepic me trying to model the t-shirts in the bathroom with a selfie stick bc my sister is away therefore i have to take matters into my own hands

On the day Kim Kardashian
releases her book of selfies,
my sister will weigh herself in the bathroom
for the third time that morning.
She’ll lean over and flush the toilet
when we begin to wonder.
No one will hear her easing off the machine,
slowly like pre-landmine.
No will notice her turn the cold tap all the way
and watch her fingers grow pale and red and pale
because she can’t meet her own eyes in the mirror.

Seven years of self-teaching
and I am still afraid of smiling with teeth.
A kid in my sixth grade class called me
a beaver during Math and I watched
my best friend’s pigtails swing in the seat in front of me
as she giggled. She has a laugh like wind chimes,
I remember thinking. She has a laugh that affords
showing teeth, I remember thinking.

Later, I snuck the family camera into my bedroom
and took pictures of myself smiling.
I set the counter each time, sat back on my bed,
waited for the clicks to sound.
Fifty three pictures of myself grinning.
Fifty of them blurry, with my bare teeth dead centre,
like a cave aglow with light,
bare teeth like the wolves would run for cover,
teeth like that girl must know how to
take her place in this world.

On the day Kim Kardashian
releases her book of selfies,
I’ll get a message from an anonymous sender.
It’ll say, “Stop posting pictures of yourself.
Stick to poetry.”
You’ll tell me it is not a problem.
You’ll ask me how my day was.
I’ll talk to your forehead because
your glassy eyes are good reflectors.

My chin is made of material
I’ve mined with my bare hands
from the many nights I dug through to get here.
My jawline is a mountain only I can climb.
My acne doesn’t care what you think.
There is still dirt under my nails and I love it.
There are bags under my eyes and I love it.
A camera click is my way of saying
I am tired, but I got here. I am sculpted
roughly and my edges are worn and
my fingers always find their way to my neck
but I got here. I got here and I will damn well tape
the evidence on my wall if I so please.

So take this picture of me.
Tell them I am vain. Tell them you think
my little sister must be learning all the wrong things
from me. And I will tell you that I don’t know
if she can define love without mentioning someone else
and that when I take a picture of her,
she will look at it afterwards in silence,
grateful she didn’t have to take it herself.

Tell them, also, that I am alive.
Tell them, also, that this girl
made it. Tell them I look at my lips now
like the kisses they were born to be.
Tell them I see the camera shutter
in my eyes before the click.
Tell them that these days, I can’t help but
smile with teeth.

—  Selfish | Ramna Safeer