And Your Face in the Mirror?

This is a poem structure of Louise Gluck’s, I copied the italics and answered the questions my way, and in this new draft, I am contrasting my old perspective when I wrote this with my perspective now. It has changed drastically-since the first draft of this poem two years ago. You can read the first, old draft here, from when I was in that dark space. Now for the new one:

“Are you healed or do you only think you’re healed?”

 

I told myself it is

terrible and beautiful

to survive.

Believing it might make me so,

with whatever limitations I

guided myself by.

 

“But can you love anyone yet?”

 

I slipped across mirrors,

always mirrors.

I was only yet learningzzzzzzzzzzzzzcxvcv

my reflection, a face

I didn’t know.

 

 

“But will you touch anyone?”

 

I told myself

if I have nothing,

that’s what comes back.

 

I touched my body

in the mirror,

examined its rounds

and edges, the skin

an …other.

 

 

“And your face too? Your face in the mirror?”

 

It felt like I was

gloved; and hands

that cannot feel

numb for an eternal sting

of some kind–I was

a shape of silent centers.

And the face-I couldn’t see it.

 

 

“Were you safe then?”

 

I still whisper to myself,

thirty years later

“You are safe, you are safe”

in my quiet rooms when my

body has memories.

 

 

 

“So you couldn’t protect yourself?”

 

Ah, but I did. Fighting was not an option,

not for my child’s mind,

but hiding within it was.

But I got lost in all

that tender gray matter,

and to lose a girl

I hated

now makes me

love her.

 

 

 

“But do you think you’re free?”

 

I think I knew what I was.

 

Fragments of her–the light

play of a prism on a bare wall–

trapped, shaking naked but glinting

an illusion of color.

 

 

“But do you think you’re free?”

 

 

Everything has a price.

Everything has a price.

I once thought fighting myself

in those recesses was more free

than what I had become.

 

A newness is evolving,

I change into something new,

something strange. I conjure

up new meanings

to your words

free

and

love

and I am finding that the design

of this woman

I have blueprinted

is taking space

in the mirrors.

This is free, for someone like me.

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