My morning mirror is a reflective pool that ripples these days, but only around the corners of my eyes, or in the creases that frame my smile. Its color saturation has begun to fade, too, begun to gray in certain areas near my temples. It’s a shape-shifter, an illusionist that seems to show the face of my older kin. More than those things, though, my mirror is storyteller.
Life weathers us, and our mirrors are reminders. I first noticed my graying hair in the barber’s chair on College Avenue after the birth of my third son. As he clipped, a few tips fell like snow on the black cape, and my barber remarked, “Three boys and the coming hair color of maturity and wisdom. What more could a guy ask for?”
The lines in my forehead have deepened, too. The mirror reminds me of my youngest son’s medical condition, the “worry lines” that tell of early morning prayer and daylong concern. I remember poor cafeteria food, the care of visiting friends, the skillful hands of good doctors who worked minor miracles. These wrinkles, my mirror says, are battle scars.
In the mornings, I lather my cheeks and chin with shaving cream. In the mirror I see where my smile has worn ruts around my lips; it tells me that I’ve been blessed with four silly sons, a beautiful wife, and friends who bring too much laughter and just enough wine for good dinner parties. My mirror shares stories of a mostly merry life.
Some read mirrors like a mathematical equation — reflection equals face. My mirror reads more like a journal, a poem, or a short story. It reads like a collection of my times — some bad, but mostly good.
Poetry Prompt: When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Use the mirror as a poetic prompt, a way to share the stories of your life. Leave your poem in the comments below. Who knows, maybe we’ll share it with the world.
Tweetspeak’s Mirror, Mirror Poetry Prompt:
This month we’re considering the theme “Mirror, Mirror, “ and we’ll be composing poems around the subject. How do you participate in this month’s poetry prompt?
1. Consider a mirror, whether a makeup mirror, a hand-held mirror, or your rear-view mirror. Listen to our monthly prompt-themed playlist. What images, emotions, metaphors, or allegories do they conjure?
2. Compose your own poem around the theme.
3. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #TSMirror hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.
4. If you aren’t a Twitter user, or if you’d rather, leave your poem here in the comment box.
5. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a poem to feature in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.
There have been so many good mirror poems coming in this month. Who knew that the “Mirror, Mirror” prompt would have inspired such great work? Last week we considered mirages and mirrors, and the poems you submitted were fantastic.
Consider this poignant, introspective piece by ElanaLee:
Reflections on failure–
acne scars immortalized
in memory’s florescent light–
pock a dot-to-dot warning:
“Do Not Proceed.”
But might one forward step
fall through sweet air
to solid earth and show,
finally, the devil
trying to instigate
a drowning in a mirage?
The devil really is in the details, and she writes them well here. I loved the idea of falling through sweet air. Thanks, Elana.
Laurie Flanigan brought us a nice offering, describing the fogging-over of glass with such aggressive and specific detail that I read the lines over and over for nearly five minutes. Her use of assonance in this poem holds it tight, creates a work that literally rolls off the tongue. In “Mirage, ” she writes:
My porthole image is lost
accosted by a wash of
filmy breath. I’m gauzed in
its milky-white web
until I tremble … ebbing
in the breeze, and I can see
a peek of what’s beneath.
Thank you for sharing this with us Laurie!
And then there is Nance’s offering, which combined a wonderful poem with a double exposure mirage-like photograph. Consider her poem “Linger”:
i must linger
at a distance
to see her
in her time
Thank you for the rest of you who participated last week. It is a privilege to see your work take shape on the screen.
Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In June we’re exploring the poetry theme Mirror, Mirror.