lacks the signature of mercy,
shows me a naked face, long, big ears,
narrow eyes, features unnoticed
by the inner eye. I am what I am
to the reflection. Break the glass
and behind it a bottle of aspirin.
Who said, “I have traveled widely
in Concord?” My tracks aren’t meant
to be followed. I shadow the landscape
of mind with landmarks and forget them.
My roots don’t show. Cut down a tree
to count the rings, my stump would be
different. A swollen seed, hatching egg,
a heifer dropping her first calf,
the pain of something broken, life draws
a first breath—I have seen it.
As I look into the glass, no vision
shines out, no stoic spirit, no halo
above gray hair, deep wrinkles,
scarred forehead, I cannot find myself here.
I lean toward tomorrow, a bricklayer
without bricks, a newsboy trying to collect,
an old farmer with empty pockets
impatient for a new year.