One afternoon when snow fell on the lawns
and winter light grew thinner in the trees,
he stood in his grandmother’s beauty parlor
and, over his shoulder, trained a handheld mirror
at the mirror behind him. The wall clock was silent.
The domes of the big hair dryers gathered dust.
What he saw both entertained and startled him:
his head and face repeated in a corridor
of bizarre, ever-shrinking iterations,
a duplicate geometry of selves,
each one of them turned toward its opposite
in infinitely receding parallels.
It confirmed his suspicions: he was himself,
of course, but he was other people too,
the strangers whom he knew he didn’t know
—the ones whose backs were always turned to him—
and those whom he was sure he recognized:
the boy in the beauty parlor and the one
who looked out at rough shadows on the sea;
the kid who snickered while he took communion
and the other one who daydreamed in his room—
as well as all of those he knew from moods
whose vagaries had made him speculate
about the winds behind their random weather.
Who was it that kept staring at him now?
He watched this boy whom he had studied closely
in endless ramifications in the glass
and mused in his own prism of reflection
while the second hand advanced on the clock:
everyone he was was sunk in the mirror,
myriads of himself diminishing
farther and farther toward the edge of vision,
until, anonymous, they disappeared.
Morri Creech’s fifth book, The Sentence, is forthcoming from LSU. He teaches at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina.