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Poetry

An unexpected reflection of
myself in a passing window
glances this way then after
a quick double-take recognizes
me. Like me, she’s caught by
surprise; no time for the split
second preparations that tend
to precede looking in a mirror,
or to hide the disappointment
in her eyes, her sense that had
we met incognito she’d feel
little interest or connection,
much less see me as someone
equipped to carry a heart out
into the world and guard it from
the worthless and extraneous—

someone to fasten your life
to. Like the poet waking in
the butterfly’s dream flying
back and forth, chrysalis to
house, in the mise en abyme
of another dreamer, both and
neither. Or as a plaster portrait
on a sarcophagus: good for
purposes of identification at
the border but not for exiting
solid stone or sailing the river
alone back through the mirror
to the starry colloquium where
the winged goddess of truth
weighs your heart of hearts
against her white head-feather


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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