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Don't mistake my mouth for yours.

My voice does not live in your cave;

that sound you hear has no echo,

it's your stone of lies.

 

Don't mistake my skin for yours.

My body has its own house;

its roof is my imagination,

I still hammer the walls.

 

Don't mistake my sex for yours;

my desire is not your door.

Don't mistake my eyes for supplication,

My invisibility is your nightmare.

 

Don't mistake the doctor for

the midwife. What you bore

in me has teeth. Here, come closer,

but don't mistake my kiss for keeping. 

 

Don't mistake my color for yours;

Mine will blind your despair.

Don't mistake my children for your own;

My womb is another country.

 

Don't mistake my seeing for believing;

My eyes have known subterfuge.

The priests are primping.

I'm an atheist of mirrors.

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Don't mistake my mouth for yours.

My voice does not live in your cave;

that sound you hear has no echo,

it's your stone of lies.

 

Don't mistake my skin for yours.

My body has its own house;

its roof is my imagination,

I still hammer the walls.

 

Don't mistake my sex for yours;

my desire is not your door.

Don't mistake my eyes for supplication,

My invisibility is your nightmare.

 

Don't mistake the doctor for

the midwife. What you bore

in me has teeth. Here, come closer,

but don't mistake my kiss for keeping. 

 

Don't mistake my color for yours;

Mine will blind your despair.

Don't mistake my children for your own;

My womb is another country.

 

Don't mistake my seeing for believing;

My eyes have known subterfuge.

The priests are primping.

I'm an atheist of mirrors.

 

The Atheist of Mirrors

Philip F. Clark

​Philip F. Clark is the author of ‘The Carnival of Affection’ [2017]. He is the poetry editor of A&U Magazine, and a poetry editor of The Night Heron Barks. Since 2015 he has taught at City College, New York, where he received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2016. His poetry, reviews, and essays have been published in Tiferet Journal, Vox Populi, The Marsh Hawk Press, and Lambda Literary, as well as in ‘Crashing Cathedrals: Edmund White by the Book’ [ 2019].