Mirror

A slight slouch to her otherwise
Luxurious height
A source of youthful frustration
The medical prediction of average
Failed her

Keane eyes
Widened in kaleidoscopic expressions of
Wonder, fear, disbelief, amazement
Trust

She believes she can weed out the judgmental
With tattoos that speak her heart
Heavy with the long life of her short years
Soft as her infancy smile, global tenderness born of pain
And empathy

She calls
It is 2:30 AM in Florence
Tortured sobs and shudders send my maternal heart
Flying from my chest

She:
I am judgmental
I am what I despise
How can this be?
Exhaling agony

The same student-roommates whose disdain and
Fear
Leapt from their trained and mannered faces
In that brief flickering moment of
Real

The mirror-daughter reflected back
Shallow, spoiled, privileged
Unexposed or immune to pain
Happy, empty, salon-lovely heads

Unaware of the underside of the lily pads
Atop which their gently bobbing lives floated
Huddled alone, trying to immerse themselves
In a pond of invisibility

She:
Did they not have real lives
Had they not breathed a sorrow as suffocating
As mine
Have they failed themselves
Or their responsibility in an achingly superficial world 

Then tonight I spoke with them of dreams
Fears and futures that are not mine
I have been nailing them to a standard
That was built from the timbers of my pain 

I’ve heard their stories and know
We are each the sum of more or less
And we are all
Real

 

 

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