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Just Reflected

ISSUE:  Spring 1988
less than twilight

he sits on a stoop
in a factory town

he is a mirror
in flesh and blood

only deep wrinkles

stand out darker
than the near night

long deep lines
of the coal
his father mined

corn rows
plowed by mule
his grandfather
worked behind

he sits
in the cool

while other husbands
and fathers watch
dim tubes
after supper

his grandfather sat
his father sat

while across the way

I see my childhood
playing hide and seek
on a lawn
beneath tall trees

my young summer
creeps across the street
a refracted flow
of new mown grass
and humid air

about my bare feet
in wet grass waiting
for the count
one two three
up to ten and then
the search begins

as I now search the mirror
and often find a wave of hair
just like my father’s

but not just like

the same
just reflected

or a thought
just like my mother’s

but not just like

the same

my mother

who played the game
counting one two three
up to ten and then
searched in shadows
for her hiding children

and who searched my face
for her father
for the Thompson
in me

like a tide
the heat recedes

leaving only cold road

the man on the stoop
mine-deep in the dark

and the Thompson in me


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