by C.K. Williams
I'd have thought by now it would have stopped,
as anything sooner or later will stop, but still it happens
that when I unexpectedly catch sight of myself in a mirror,
there's a kind of concussion, a cringe; I look quickly away.
Lately, since my father died and I've come closer to his age,
I sometimes see him first, and have to focus to find myself.
I've thought it's that, my precious singularity being diluted,
but it's harsher than that, crueler, the way, when I was young,
I believed how you looked was supposed to mean,
something graver, more substantial: I'd gaze at my poor face
and think, "It's still not there." Apparently I still do.
What isn't there? Beauty? Not likely. Wisdom? Less.
Is how we live or try to live supposed to embellish us?
All I see is the residue of my other, failed faces.
But maybe what we're after is just a less abrasive regard:
not "It's still not there," but something like "Come in, be still."
"Glass" from COLLECTED POEMS by C. K. Williams.
Friday, January 8, 2021