Prednisone

Put pressure on the lever to release the cloud of foam with a hiss.
Rub the soap between your hands, and around, and under.
Just don’t look up.  You know who is there,
and it’s not you in that mirror.  Not your frown, not your face.

Your best friend did a double-take when she saw you.
Months had passed, and she wasn’t prepared.
Neither were you.  You’re only sixteen.
Your face is swollen and round.  Toxic.  It is numb every time you
trace the outline of your cheek with your nail.

You grind the sudsy molecules into the crevices of your fingertips
because that feels the same as it used to.
Fingerprints do not change.

You never used to notice your own form in the mirror:
the freckled nose, the wide-grinned mouth, the curved chin.
You used to have dark circles under your eyes, and
now you’re not sure if they’re still there.

You are scrubbing, scrubbing each inch of each finger, and you will not
Look Up.
Up is a stranger’s face: the low, low price for this medication healing you—
Inside, not out.

Rinse.  Dry.  Do not make eye contact.
Wash the mirror from your mind.

— Laura Renshaw

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