Magazine February 8, 2021, Issue

On a Mirror

(Chris Curry/Getty Images)

For Aaron Poochigian

This wall of glass
Holds all that we may see of truth,
   Compacting depths to surfaces that pass
   Before us like a twirl of dress or chin
Grown stout and grizzled, when lost youth
Reflects in skin.

So many turn
Away from what they would deny,
   But then glance back, as if some urge to learn
   Our shining imperfections had possessed us;
We lean close till they fill the eye
And have undressed us.

So, who could blame
False Rita Hayworth with her gun,
   Who, multiplied in funhouse mirrors, takes aim
   And shatters glass as if it all were lies,
Her liberty, alas, undone
With its demise?

But, centuries
Ago, the early scientists
   Marked how appearances seemed treacheries
   That …

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