? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 7


Stephanie Lenox

Charlie Chaplin Takes Third Place in a Charlie Chaplin Look-alike Contest

My reflection is runner-up to my face,
my shoes second only to my feet,
bowler hat not a far cry from my actual head,
and yet there are days I call myself
lost, cane twirling like a propeller,
like a confused compass unable to point
the way home. There are days upon days
where nothing resembles a punch line:
there’s a knock on the door but no one answers,
three men walk into a bar and stay there
until they are blindly, inconsolably drunk.
How did I cease to be a metaphor
for myself and become a mere impression—
a swagger, some coat tails, a smudge 
of grease paint? I want to say to whomever,
tottering off with the gilt trophy, a gold-plated me
on top: “Just who do you think you are?”