West Virginia

by Jennifer Key

In a bathtub in Hiko, West Virginia,
my figure inverts in the faucet’s gleam,
fabricating the lie that the body is a thing
just as likely to show up here as anywhere.
Consciousness tempers a bit with water,
like my plastic cup of bourbon and ginger
translucent now with melted ice.
A trance of silence from the hotel hall
whirs in the ventilation fan.
I’d like to leave this reflection behind
in the unmade bed as though this happened
a long time ago and I had to look hard
to find the person I was then again.
Instead, I water myself down
with some new trick or other
and see the horizon as the brick heel of a house
where a lawnmower hums out back.
What can any of us know about ourselves
except that we’re good for filling out
the sleeves of our shirts?
Still, today at a pumpkin fair in southern Ohio,
I saw a man lift a meanly glowing beauty
by his teeth.

JENNIFER KEY is the author of The Old Dominion (University of Tampa). She currently holds a John and Renée Grisham Fellowship in poetry at the University of Mississippi.