How to live with Mirrors
At 16, closed curtains shield you from the worst
of a plain speaking mirror’s home truths,
whilst you attempt to align Picasso eyes with liner,
coat acne’s curse with foundation.
Saturday shopping with chums who catwalk through Debenhams
preening before mirrors as if posing before boys,
you skulk beyond each reflection’s reach.
But in Top Shop, a rogue looking glass ambushes you,
sending you scurrying to the ladies,
where you view yourself like a disappointed Narcissus;
pretending period pain, you shuffle home.
At 56, you know most middle aged women now
exchange primping before mirrors for
frowning at bulging bellies, tutting at frayed features.
But once a day you face yourself in a mirror
selected for its benevolence; inspect make-up, outfit, hair;
sometimes the glasses’ gentle ‘you have strayed into mutton’,
but most days ‘not bad for an old bird’.
Carrying this image like a snapshot in your purse
to trump other lurking mirrors’ spite,
you scoot off to emails, marking, meetings...
frequently forgetting to reflect upon yourself again that day.

Fiona Sinclair

If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair  would be pleased to hear from you.