Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

image: Duane Michals

Through the years the woman looking back
At me from my mirror has been so changeable
As to be unrecognizable from time-to-time
By those nearest and dearest, and even by me

The early years, before my twenties, are blurry
But I was in the fashion business so I have
A photographic record and can look at it
And say, oh – so that’s who I was back then

After I married, I would often look in the mirror
And depending on the day, say to the woman
I found there – you are the luckiest girl alive, or,
What have you done? Where can you run?

There were times when I would stumble into
My bathroom afraid to turn on the light, frightened
To confront the crone I knew was awaiting me
In the mirror there, especially if she had been there long

Oftentimes, I would glimpse her accidentally
And she would rail at me to end it all and I would
Let her, listening intently, then crawling away
To whatever hidey-hole I’d fashioned for a time

The crone would never leave me willingly, on her
Own – I would have to run, most often to a hospital
 Away from my mirror, for a time, to oust her
From my house – then, when I saw a semblance

Of myself reflected back – I knew I could return
To family, to sanity – to try again, and I would
Reinvent the woman I thought I should be
Becoming wife, mother - trying always to stay sane

After many, many years – I found the mirror less
Intimidating, the crone appearing more infrequently
Or maybe I became used to her and familiarity gave
Me a certain advantage – I knew I could beat her

Or even learn to live with her and so I did
Now she and I are one – we try to live together
In a kind of truce, with a sort of wisdom; I know
She can take me down if she puts her mind to it

She knows I am stronger than I used to be
And don’t go to ground nearly as quickly
Or without putting up a fight, as I did in the
Good old days —we are making it work somehow

There is an old adage about living your life
In such a way so that you can face yourself,
Look at yourself in a mirror — I get that now
I’m finally able to do it, at least today I can.



  1. Ah. Very thoughtful and wise and moving post. I know for myself I am pretty shocked sometimes. You describe that feeling and more. K>

  2. At least I can today...(I can so relate)

  3. i'm glad you can finally look yourself in the eye


    verification makes it really hard to comment. you'd get more comments if you turned it off

  4. I loved this introspective glance into the mirror ...

  5. Thank you for reading this and making such perceptive comments about one of my more difficult poems ...

  6. Whew and oh! Did this resonate with me? Yes. It did.
    A very brave write.