The Secret in the Mirror

by Alberto Rios

The mirror is dirty from the detritus of dailiness—
I look in the mirror and am freckled.
A week out from being cleaned, maybe two, maybe more,
The Milky Way shows itself in the secret silver,
This star chart in my own bathroom,
Aglow not in darkness but with the lights on,
Everything suddenly so clear.
It is not smear I am looking at, but galaxies.
It is not toothpaste and water spots—
When I look in the mirror, it is writing and numbers,
Musical notes, 1s and 0s, Morse-like codes, runes.
I am looking over into the other side,
And over there, whoever they are, it turns out
They look a lot like me. Like me, but freckled.

Copyright © 2016 by Alberto Ríos. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 2, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets. Source: The Secret in the Mirror


Poetry

One's expression
One's escape
One's truth
Veiled in word