What’s in the Mirror
It’s morning again and I’m looking in the mirror.
Natural curls of my hair cling to each other in fluffy waves on top
and tight, smooth spirals underneath.
I flip it forward, in front of my shoulders,
check the length,
and then flip back again
admiring how it looks better
after just waking up.
I stare a little too long
and try to squash the argument
about why I can’t feel the same
about the rest of me
and begin to wander
the brown, unwashed streets of
“something’s not quite right”.
Something inside of me is throbbing
and aching and winding up and unwinding.
Could it be my heart?
Could it be too heavy?
Or my mind stretching
to get itself around some external thing
like the sky being too big
or the possibility of a world without a sky –
some existence where the words “blue”
and “rain” and “clouds” and “wind”
are met with the furrowed brow
What if it’s not me at all
but a different girl? Katie
who I barely know
who was raped last week, on a date
and wrote a poem about it
and posted it on Twitter
who I have laughed with
over giving the finger to the moon
who I now want to reach out to,
and stand next to in solidarity
or maybe just hug.
Or what if it’s that other girl, Charlotte
who I used to know
who finally died of the cancers
that crept, like time, through her body
and sank jagged teeth into her bones
leaving behind two babies
who will only remember their mom
as a person fighting for her life.
They won’t know the 20-something,
strawberry-blonde girl, full of energy
who hung out at Billy Frogs on Fridays
after work drinking cheap vodka crans,
laughing at stupid things
and splitting nachos
who I can’t hug, because she’s gone.
Or what if it’s that other girl, Z
who I know so well because I gave birth to her
and she’s getting ready to fly
and the sky is impossibly vast
and could collapse in on itself at any moment,
strands of air clinging together as they spiral
down and crash into the earth
and leave her drowning in a dirty brown sea
with nothing blue or green to hang on to.
My mind flinches and stops
on that cold, dead end street.
I can’t stop time
or un-melt the polar ice caps.
I can’t save anything or anyone
from the certain doom that happens naturally
when human beings are involved
because they are inherently selfish
and sometimes only think about things
like how their hair looks
when they first wake up.