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turn from the mirror

by Beth Pauli
staring back with uncertainty --
a true image or an aspiration?
apprehension growing like vines on a
clock tower. makes sense -- your scars
are still painful. you are not ready
to accept the brutal truth.
old enough to have been violated repeatedly,
young enough to keep the secret locked
safe within your fragile body, yet not
ready to accept the fact that it happened
such gruesome behavior -- a tiger lashing at
a defenseless hyena. you did all that you
could do given your handicap; your inability to emote.
this is what causes the face in the mirror to appear ghastly.
there is no blood coursing through your veins
enraging you,
no heat radiating to make you
just simple stoicism.
not a sneer. no fires blazing in your eyes, no
devils evident.
just a black hole where your heart should be,
a purple and blue lump disguised a single tear.
not even
distance or
this is what you see when you look in the mirror
and the mirror looks back,
and talks back:
"get out of this life. it's not
worth the pain".

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Copyright © 1997 by Beth Pauli. All rights reserved.