Poem: A Look in the Mirror


A Look in the Mirror

The skin is no longer supple. 
There is a leathery quality to it
and it is pocked with blemishes and scars. 
The thick reddish brown hair of my youth is gone, 
and what remains is brown and white and coarse, 
with just a few flickers of color that shine in the sun, left. 

One eye is blind. The other, thank goodness, works well, 
but they are a little rheumy, and generally bloodshot. 
You would think I drank like my father, 
but I drink rarely, and little. Still, I have his squint, 
the bags under my eyes. 
I have his build, ordinary, almost slender, 
stronger than I look, 
but not without weaknesses. 

One of my arms will never work right, 
a snapped tendon that could be repaired, but to no avail, 
has left one arm a bit… odd. Useful still, but far from right.

I have a farmers tan, without the benefit of a farm. 
long walks, head exposed, arms hanging freely, 
have allowed the sun to have its way with me. 

In short, I look my age. 

I have settled into it well, I think, 
perhaps taking longer than some in the process
of accepting myself completely, 
not just the skin you see, but also
the skin you do not see, 

the invisible walls we build to feel safe, 
to fit in, 
to become invisible
without disappearing all together

Bit by bit, I have been ruined, until
there was no need for pretense or pretend, 
for the ruin was plain to see, and the rebuilding
was done in public, like a freak show
that made some gasp and some have pity and some
missing the whole circus by choice. 

Which is just as well. 
It is enough to be seen by a few who have xray vision
and see beyond the chiseled laugh lines
to the child beneath.

About this poem

I should never look in a mirror. 


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