the role of mirrors

the chest has sagged
from when he last looked years ago

it’s tempting not to notice
but an urge to draw a breath and straighten
to reveal the mental shadow-shape
of the image he recalls is irresistible

the inevitable expulsion of air
obliterates fancied boundaries
to show full extent of slippage
and a visible quiver follows
pronouncing a pendulousness
that he thinks is reminiscent
of a woman’s breasts

it is lower though
where the paunch is stretched round
until a near-term shape is presented
that memory is harder to fool
for although with effort
the roundness will re-arrange
into the proportions of a mere bulge
it will no longer disappear
unless he is lying down flat

even then it would not be advisable
to snap a photograph for the picture
will show a torso vaguely familiar
but intimately unrecognisable
unless touched tentatively
with a searching finger
to sense a personal connection

the legs look well enough
their protests a silent and invisible ache
spread from calf to thigh
to lower back
to matters of weight and intake of rations

they would complain less perhaps
beneath a slightly smaller man
someone finer in physique
and have strength enough now
only for ever-shorter episodes
of carriage and journey
and imply a burdensome time to come

someone pronounced this middle age
but the thought never before occurred
to self-apply such a statement
a long looking-glass however
disengaged as it is from the artistry
of confabulation or outright lies
does not reflect fantasy
it shows only the distortions that it truly sees
enforces reluctant realisations

yes
he is indeed changed
from when he last looked
years ago
and the size and shape
of the mirrors in his bathroom
are now under active review
for all that a man of certain years requires
is the image of his face
to facilitate shaving


© Frank Prem, 2003

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “the role of mirrors

  1. the legs look well enough
    their protests a silent and invisible ache
    spread from calf to thigh
    to lower back
    to matters of weight and intake of rations

    This stanza really captures such an unspoken truth …. the entire piece is, umm …. quite the reflection on aging …. and I love how you’ve ended it – the last stanza ringing true for so many men, I would presume – at least of a certain age, once all the hullabaloo of the earlier young adult years have passed.

    A pleasure to read Frank 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Author Interview – Tony Lovell – Bedbug’s Writing: A Collection of Short Stories + Poetry, Volume One & Bad Words (Bedbug’s Writing Book 2) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s