Mirror Mirror

March 17, 2008
Tell me—
Have you ever looked into your reflection
And not recognized the strange face staring back?
It is a fierce jolt
Sudden vertigo, followed by several minutes of intense self-examination.
Has the hair always fallen, so?
Is the skin, perhaps, a shade paler?
The shape of the mouth, eyes, the tilt of the nose
Inexplicably unfamiliar
And entirely different from yesterday, last week, or a month ago
—well, maybe years.
I tell myself that it cannot be so unusual
To lose yourself, in this world of flesh and mirrors
Still I flinch away from the image.

This body of mine is both temple and prison
And I pace and pray in restless circles.
This poem, a tap upon the wall
(here I am)
A paperclip key, or
Raw fists against the door.

Please don’t look for me
I had rather that you listened;
Because it isn’t, I plead, that I am more than my mirror, only
That I am not
The reflection is no part of me.
(is anyone out there?)

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