Face While Shaving

So what is a body but a man
caught inside
for a little while?
staring into a mirror,
recognizing the vegetable clerk
or a design on wallpaper;
it is not vanity that seeks reflection
but dumb ape wonder out of buried cities;
but still the reflection . . .
movement of arm and muscle, shell-head,
a face staring down through the
stale dimension of dreams
as a Mississippi coed powders her nose
and paints a lavender kiss;
the phone rings like a plea from a swamp
and the razor breaks through the snow,
the dead roses, the dead moths,
sunset after sunset,
steam and Christ and darkness,
one tiny inch of light.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1961
This poem appeared in the following books: