We Are Vain. Luckily, We Are Also Blind.



(With apologies to the Talking Heads.)

(And to the estate of Phyllis Diller.)

(And to anyone who has to read this.)


I can’t see until I put my face smack

Up to the mirror, where I discover—


Not sleeping ‘cause my head’s on fire

Has turned me into something freakish and dire.


PHYLLIS DILLER! Qu’est-ce que ce?

Have I put my contacts in the wrong way? Or do I

(dun dun dun dun) really look this way??

Ohh ohh ohhh

PHYLLIS DILLER! Qu’est-ce que ce?

I fu-forgot what I was going to say. Better

um, um, um, umm…go the other way?


Oh oh oh OH. Where did I put my shoe?


I start a conversation I can’t even–Spinach?

I like it a lot! But I’m not eating anything.

What was I going to say? Oh, I’ll have the veal!

Say something once.

Say something once.


PHYLLIS DILLER! What the hey?

Fu-fu-fu-fuck! Are these spots on my face? Better

Buff buff buff buff BUFF buff them all away.

Ohhhh ohhh ohh ohh


Why are you haunting my mirror today? I am

Done done done done done looking this way!


Oh oh oh nooo! Lie lie lie lie lie yoooouuu.


Who says I’m fat?

This scale—ah!

But my ID says–


Born in 1974.

Right, Heather. Try twleve years more.


Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah yah

You’re a pain and you’re unkind!

You hate people and you’re not contrite.



That’s my name.

And we’re practically one and the same, now that–

Hon hon hon hon—menopause done came!

Oh no. No.


Puddin’ Tane?

Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same. Ask you

what? What what what what was I going to say?

Oh oh oh oh, I I I I don’t know.


About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson’s fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, CRAFT, Farmer's Market, Mid-American Review, MonkeyBicycle, Sonora Review, Story, and Witness. Her stories have been finalists for the 2019 CRAFT Flash Fiction Contest and the 2021 Story Foundation Prize, and her story "The Side of the Road Forever" was the winner of Sonora Review's RAGE fiction contest in 2022. Her story "What You Know" was nominated for The Best Short Fictions 2020. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona and was a Fellow in Fiction at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and some of their five children.

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