Emily LaSita/ poem: Performing

You sit across from me, but you aren’t facing me
So, I can’t make eye-contact with my audience
I hold my mug in glass hands—there are cracks
From behind your steaming feast, you wink

My mouth, arced in de triomphe, flips upside
A technical smile crumbles the moment your gaze redirects
I force pancakes into my solid sandbag stomach
I swallow and I whisper what I have rehearsed, to leave you

And it is like screaming underwater,
Hoping to see the ballet with your eyes closed tight,
Trying to stop the accelerating train with your hands,
Or feeding the birds with rosin and notes of song

You may as well have mushrooms holding up your spectacles
Deaf, I knew you wouldn’t be able to hear me
I am a coward and a creep and a liar and a wreck and I want you to realize
These artificial flowers I present to you, I myself have become

I am the plastic rose, when you see my face again
I dance in smiles and bites of food
But the curtains never close
And I am forced to perform for you forever


The poem was first published in The Teller.

Emily LaSita is a writer and poet from Long Island, New York. She earned her AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology (2018) and BA from SUNY New Paltz (2020). She is a recipient of a Tomaselli Award of Creative Writing for her poetry (2020). Her work has appeared in Stonesthrow ReviewThe Teller: Literary and Art Magazine and Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. She enjoys reading, painting, and gleaning feelings of objects and strangers.

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