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That Woman in the Mirror

 

 

 

I have a few moments before dinner so will publish this piece written to the prompt, “That Woman in the Mirror” at the writing retreat where I will be for the next three days.

That Woman in the Mirror

The woman in the mirror has a better sense of humor than I do. This is because she does not need to depart to go into the world. She controls what is behind her and in front of her. Her wounds are my wounds. Her wrinkles are the selfsame wrinkles that fail to respond to the expensive face cream my sister sent me for my birthday. A gentle hint that my apparent age reveals her age, 4 years older.

 

The woman I the mirror does not necessarily reflect my feelings. She sometimes freezes in surprise at my tears. Chides me to get a hold on myself. She steams over at times and refuses to confront me. She does not flinch at sprays of toothpaste or a misting over of hairspray. She grows younger as the layers thicken. The woman in the mirror chides me to refresh my lipstick, define my eyebrows, pluck hair chins. Slowly, slowly, she ages—turning into first my mother and then my Grandmother, who I had thought I had left so far behind. That self-pitying look? Shame on her, I chide. Those ever-lowering breasts, that additional girth? I will never get like that, I think, and then I remember.

 

There is a mirror in my house where my Grandmother cannot find me—a full-length miracle mirror where the one looking back at me is a woman in her 40’s, just barely overweight. She is my grandmother, stretched out –lengthened and diminished in width. It is the sort of mirror that used to be seen in fancy dress shops that encouraged women to buy and buy. Like The Hollywood shop from fifty years ago, now long abandoned, shuttered and replaced by a Radio Shack…but whose charms can still lull me into a luxurious feeling that all is well. I am as I should be.

 

I flip off the bathroom light and move to the bedroom to catch a last glimpse of me in that ma full-length mirror, then climb into bed to dream and dream those slender dreams that, if we are lucky, are the ones that remain in our memory long after the mirrors have cracked and crumbled, like other more recent memories that fade quickly to give way to the past.

Empty Windows

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Empty Windows

When it comes to neoteric, it is something that she’s not.
Way back in the fifties she’s permanently caught.
Travel to new countries? Definitely no.
She won’t have other countries profiting from her dough!

She has no curiosity about the human race.
Her interest in humanity ends in her own face.
She sits before her mirror like a window to the world.
Is her lipstick even—her hair correctly curled?

Bravery to her is answering the door.
She walks out to her mailbox, but further? No. No more.
She boils all her bed linen, lest creatures linger there
to creep onto her body and nest within her hair.

All the wounds her life will bear long ago were healed.
She’s a preserved specimen of life, hermetically sealed.
She’ll face no other heartache, no risks of being hurt.
She will not chance a world of germs, bacteria and dirt.

Cats are unhygienic and dogs an equal threat.
A goldfish in a bowl is her single lonely pet.
No companion goldfish to fill its tiny bowl.
Its full attention trained on her seems to be her goal.

All those empty windows with their draperies pulled tight.
All those single bedside bulbs burning through the night.
Behind each building’s blinded eyes, how many just like her—
sealed inside a bell jar, safe from the world’s rude whirr?

 

Prompt words today are bravery, window, travel, neoteric and boiled.

I’m leaving in 15 minutes for my writers’ retreat with eight friends at a resort across the lake so probably won’t be blogging until next Friday. Although I forgot to ask him ahead of time, perhaps Forgottenman will once again be my guest blogger. If not, see you Friday, and if you miss me, go back to some of my earlier blogs from 5 or 6 years ago or any year prior to your following my blog. I’ll miss you all. See you Friday with some new tales. Now, I’m off!!!

Relaxed

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Relaxed

The punch of youth deserted me a few birthdays ago.
My pace is not so rapid, my activity rate slow.
Though I’m really rather crafty at covering up my laziness,
the truth is the sharp edge of life has dissolved into haziness.

My fashion style has graduated from shabby chic and Goth—
loose batiks and rebozos that provide forgiving swath
to obscure a body settling into a comfort zone
that leaves room for a donut, popcorn or a scone.

I do the things I used to do, though in different proportions.
I exercise within my pool with minimized contortions.
My parties have grown smaller with the menus simplified,
and when I am out shopping, I am easier satisfied.

No longer do I seek out that perfect styling mist.
“This will do,” I soon decide, and cross it off my list.
I put off a few years ago my three nights on the town.
The nights I used to dance away, I love to lay me down.

Sorting through a milling crowd has become a bore.
My friends have dwindled to a few, but I enjoy them more.

Swinging in the hammock has become a meditation.
Looking at garden denizens a form of education.

Life filtered down is full of grace. I love its sway and hush.
Who knew that it would be such fun away from life’s mad rush?

Prompt words today are punch, youth, craft, birthday