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The Mirror 6.12.2010 Four scenes.

The long blank stare Into a fogged mirror Silver backing peeling at the edges Is staring into shadows, Swirling edges of darkness that move to hint But not reveal, Vision not quite piercing the truth The eyes not seeing into the eyes Bloodshot from efforts to be Something else Something missed Something hoped for and eventually Dropped. At the elegant ball Behind the opera masks worn Smiles are fleeting, tentative. Noses quiver sniffing the fear quelled Beneath cloying perfume and cologne And hair product to keep what is not in place In place, As intricate steps are performed. Feet must be avoided And ritual steps performed just so No matter the actor or the time. What is seen through the eye slits of the mask Is a mask reflecting the very act. On a cold fall day, a drunk sits In torn green army coat against a brick wall, Stringy unwashed brown hair falling onto shoulders That have long since sagged under the weight of life. The lifeless eyes move slowly and wind up Staring at the brown mostly empty bottle Just a couple swigs of hope remaining. Against the brown glass, transformed briefly He sees a reflection in the fleeting light. As a father comes home tired, from work The child asks to play with cars on the floor With the father.

The question all smiles. All hope. “No, I am too tired. Sorry kiddo.” That look, there, then, The truest mirror.