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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Friday, April 9, 2010

MIRROR, MIRROR - in words and pictures, an autobiographical poem


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 away, most often to
A hospital, away from mirrors, 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
Reinventing the woman I thought I should be
Becoming wife, then mother, trying always to stay sane

After many, many years – I found the mirror less
Intimidating and the crone appeared less often
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 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.

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