The Covered Mirror

Sometimes

The Slave in the Magic Mirror

The one who knows all and knows nothing

The one who looks like me

Speaks

She says…

“Hold”

“Do not do these things”

At times, I will listen to her sage advice

But others, I will not

I am stubborn and I am weak

I will cover the mirror in silk or in sackcloth

Lest she see me in my failing

I do the two things I have been advised against

On one side of the glass I sift the ashes

The finished things

On the other, I juggle the fire

The dangerously possible

***

I winnow the cinders and dust

I gather the splintered fragments

I try to arrange the broken

My hands are tattered in the attempt

The salt and the iron flow

But I am defeated again

I take up the jagged things

I score my flesh

With each painful carved note

I try to rewrite the stanzas

Compose a different song

To replace the one that was so mournful

In the end I cannot

Have I not been warned?

I take my battered red sheets

I hide in my prompter’s box alone

Buried beneath the darkened stage

***

Sometimes, on the other side of the glass

I disdain her other caution

I play with dangerous flames

I turn away and crave the different things

I gamble with that which is precious

Sit at the table and ask for another hand

I stare at the infinite possibilities

I fantasize about turning the crisp, smooth cards over

To find something new and beautiful

The Kings and the Jacks and the Aces

A fresh game of chance

But I hear the muted voices

I think of the inestimable treasures

That will not be found here

No matter what lies on the painted faces still held tantalizingly close

I cash in my chips and I run

Quickstep on my frightened gazelle feet

My handful of special wealth clasped carefully to me

Back to my room

To the covered mirror

I am shamed and despairing

I have failed again

I know better, I have long known better

Yet I am human

I stumble

Repeatedly

However

I still carry Hope

Hope says

“Go”

“Be better someday”

 

-Jessie Henry

7/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hart

 

Last night I dreamt of the Hart

I brushed against his spirit long ago

But I remember it

The silvery wit, the smoky laugh and the glint of something precious inside

I pondered the fragments that fashioned him antler to hoof

All the tears and the delight

The strong and the weak

The light and the dark

The thousands of days that came before

Time flows on, but I did not forget

I see glimpses of him now and again

A figure in the distance

A tale to be read

The turn of a shoulder

A smile in the shadows

So in the darkness of my dream

When the leashes are off all our hounds

I tracked the stag

I knelt to study a marking

I peered through the emptiness of night

I saw the path twisted and broken

My broadheads and bodkins rattle gently in my saddle quiver

But he is safe

I think that if I were to finally fall down that well

If I came out the other side

If I tracked him through the green of the pine forests

The red canyons of false magic

And across the snows bound by the frosted sea

If I were to find him alone and unafraid

I think that it is only I whose heart would be pierced

 

-Jessie Henry

11/16