Detailed Reflections

This Past Winter Break

“It’s not just God in the details, but the times in which we live. Details aren’t only the building blocks with which a story is put together, they’re also clues to something deeper, keys not merely to our subconscious but to our historical moment” (Francine Prose 207)

“Did you ever look in the mirror so long that your face didn’t make sense anymore? It just becomes all these shapes. Just shapes. Not good or bad.” (Noelle, The Truth About Cats and Dogs)

Me and Dad Years Ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is that really me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time plays tricks in the mirror.
The boundary between then and now
reflected in minute detail.

 

White hair–
my father’s beard
peeking out of dark roots,
my future slowly sprouting
for only my eyes to see.
Not one strand but many
yet still invisible to most.

 

Lines etching lightly
not yet deep valleys
but delicate sketch marks
forming geometric shapes
of stories still being spun
and stories yet untold.

 

My face reforms daily–
new angles growing
as weight drops away
coming off
slowly
hesitantly
with the trepidation of an average woman
undressing for a  portrait
in front of strangers.

 

Fearful feelings of what might be revealed
of what others might see

 

My face
is becoming a face from long ago
yet never seen before.

 

I see my father
I see my sister
I see my brother
I see my mother
I am not sure I see myself.

 

I focus on the details.
The crinkles by my eyes
visual laughter
becoming real.

 

Shadowed circles underneath
a mark of the family
but also of the unknown
stress and sleepless nights.

 

The wrinkles by my lips
unexpected indicators of
kisses given
and secrets kept.

 

The angled shadow of cheek bones
usually hidden gems
sharply revealed.

 

Freckles run rampant
across my nose in winter hiding from the cold.
Blossoming star-bursts in summer
fireworks of the face.

 

Symbols of Childhood
on a face
that is no longer a child.
These speckles of self
represent the whole.

 

They are always me.

 

Free flowing hair
living its own life
sometimes curly
sometimes straight
sometimes red, brown, auburn
(sometimes coming from a box)
sometimes changing with the sun.

 

And now, sometimes white.

 

The tricks of time,
the mirror image of reality
But what is really real?

 

Details of memory
revealing the sum
of living life
and life lived.

Addition, one of the comments below suggested I read Lucille Clifton’s “What the Mirror Said,” While searching for it, I found some of her other powerful poems that truly embrace what it means to be alive and be a woman. Check her out.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nathan010
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 06:53:57

    I was looking for an animated short about the face, but all I could find was this:

    Reply

  2. christinemgrote
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 08:53:38

    Thanks for sharing your poetry.

    Reply

  3. Tori Nelson
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 11:34:56

    Lisa, I just want you to know that you are a winner…No…really. I gave you the Memetastic Award today. Check out my latest post for what to do now that you are a Meme Champion!

    Reply

  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 07:38:01

    I love your poem–especially:

    I see my father
    I see my sister
    I see my brother
    I see my mother
    I am not sure I see myself.

    There is a poem by Lucille Clifton you might enjoy. I think it’s called “This is what the mirror say”–or something like that.

    Hugs from Haiti,
    Kathy

    Reply

    • Lisa
      Feb 11, 2011 @ 08:02:38

      Thank you so much Kathy. I will look up that poem as soon as I can. I really could use some warm hugs from Haiti. Its cold here. But, I’d rather go give people the warm hugs if I could. Some day.

      Reply

  5. thepetalpusher
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 11:50:27

    Nicely done, Lisa. I posted something like this not long ago–I am feeling all those things too. A great reflection. I especially like, “. . . becoming a face from long ago. . ..” I am my mother’s daughter after all.

    Reply

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