Sheryl Luna: "Elegy for Narcissus"


He leaned above the nude body,

tight torso, abs like Atlas.

He admired his own back curved fetal,

shoulders muscular. Barefoot and naked

before his own image,

cheeks blushed and cold,

he whispered, “forget me not

when I’ve grown old.”


He adored his own cherub face,

dipped his pale forearm into cold green water,

watched it disturb the view.

He mumbled something.


The mouth in the image swallowed

the limb willingly,

in small concentric ripples.

He ignored the large goldfish

that bumped his elbow. The white

ancient one with black dots

splattered across its back sucked

his thumb. He did not hear

the birds or the rustle of the pines.


Satiated, he removed his hand

as if it were a new born. Later,

crouched as an animal, the moon

tugged at the feminine within him.

His thighs long and bare,

muscled in the dark.


After many years the image of his age

mocked him. Altering as he changed,

it scorned him. His own watery eyes

glared back. They held weariness.


The evening breeze broke the surface

as if the image were saying,

“I hate you. I have always hated you.”



Sheryl Luna's first collection of poetry, Pity the Drowned Horses, received the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize for emerging Latino/a poets and was published by University of Notre Dame Press in 2005. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Georgia Review, Amherst Review, and elsewhere.