Only the Mirror Changes

Only the mirror changes, showing vibrant orange wings instead
of creeping, hungry green. How vain is the heart that rolls the past

into an impotent caterpillar? What makes the butterfly think the
metamorphosis is complete? I tell myself I am distanced from you,

from that night, from that abrasion of skin upon skin. I am surprised
I can remember. I am surprised by the precision of detail, by the absence

of theatre. I am surprised I have the same eyes. Somewhere behind
a closed door is the opera of sunshine, where time does not exist

or self. Where you can step back into a sentence, where you can reach
out and feel again, where moments look different in each mirror

and you can stand before the one in which you smile. That night
still wears the August moon. I am surprised you have the same eyes.

There Are Mirrors Everywhere

Thirty six degrees in the late morning, the sun acrid as mother
squints into the sky, as if expecting Lord Yama* himself to descend

on his black buffalo. Surely, there would be death, already, the hot
air was reeking of burning flesh. Yesterday, a mirror broke, fell from

my hands and multiplied its shiny self. An omen so evil, mother,
while ironing her silken mourning clothes, planned atonement and

appeasement, the priest was summoned and people and bovines,
known and unknown, were fed. Look, I showed her, I did not splinter, I

have eleven heads now and twenty two breasts, I have been reborn
from eleven wombs, my navel unbloodied. Later, breaking bread and

vows and lines, I saw myself reflected in another’s eyes. There are mirrors
everywhere, mother, waiting to blink, mirrors black as a buffalo’s back,

that can shatter your being, mirrors that trade fragments for a truth,
barter eleven promises for one unblemished soul. That night, we

gathered arms and lips and thighs and omens from walls and floors,
making ourselves whole, the hot air already reeking of burning flesh.




*The Lord of Death often depicted with his mount, the buffalo.


it fell from trembling hands
and shattered on the cusp of light
a thousand and one pieces of mirror
searching each other
with empty jagged eyes
multiplying absence

wasn’t it just the other day
the sky had fallen
with that same splintering crash
the sound of broken stars
and the audacity
of freshly shelled raindrops

that is the taste of prayer
scavenging bits of ourselves
stealing from forbidden landfills
creating perfect approximations
out of ill-matched fragments
two parts reflection, one part pain

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

how many mirrors
has this morning hung
everywhere I see my soul

like mirror shards
the morning dew falls
suddenly a thousand skies

my grandmother’s mirror
photoshopping my image
with her soft eyes

somedays the mirror
stretches a hand
to catch a falling tear

between me and the mirror
seven steps
seven presumptions

the sky is our mirror
you see the falling stars
I am bewitched by the moon

empty mirror
how much did I lose of myself
leaving you

the way we looked
before there were mirrors

hidden behind the mirror
all those reflections
before this

today the mirror
casts three reflections
asking me to choose

in his rearview mirror
he brings home
the waxing moon

then what saved Narcissus?
a ripple?
a tear?

three blackbirds
flying past the mirror
six pause

For Dverse Poets, inspired by ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ by Wallace Stevens.  My attempt is – Thirteen Ways of Looking in a Mirror. The blackbird reference is my tribute to his fabulous contemplation.

Between Mirror and Dream

the sky is rife
with rumour,
with the brazen revelation of dusk,
with the pale orange of disbelief;

the marabou storks
fastened to tree tops,
carrion still on their putrid breath,
are whispering wildly;

fickle cirrus
snakes around a half bitten moon,
stars tumble down the placid hills,
skimming over yellow grass,
vaulting into purple spotted dreams;

the gaze of the gazelle,
the leer of the leopard,
it is truth, it is mirage,
a moment, an eternity,
a macabre hall of mirrors,
where all that reflects
is your own imagination,
your own reality,
stretched and shrunk,
drenched and wrung;

this was the beginning,
this was the end,
everything alive only in my eye,
afraid to close,
afraid to look
into the hollow yawn
of the still born night;

the Mara folds into
a single bird,
the broken moon bit for its eye,
an elephant’s trunk
bending into
a sombre question mark;

somewhere in the emptiness,
between perception and vein striped skin,
between star and sky,
between mirror and dream,
between cause and consequence,
is the silhouette of the flightless wing
that blinds the vanishing sun.

the sky is rife
with rumour.




They spoke in soft wordless tunes that made the stars blink in confusion.

Against her silver ear, his wet cloak dragging his shoulders down, struggling to stand on blue calloused toes, too weary to dance to her unrelenting rhythm, the wounded ocean was begging her to stop.

She pulled him closer and whispered. If it were up to me, you would be still, you would lie like an unblemished mirror, so I can finally see what the remorseless wind has blown into my one weeping eye.

But this music plays on.

love in her talons
reason in her blood-stained beak
a lone heart pleads

For the midweek prompt at Poets United: “Mercy”