The Mirror

for my son, age 7

Growing into himself too quickly
he questions the composition of his face
positions his eyes slightly closer together
as if an acute pose will make the
mirror aware of his inevitable manhood

tight with time, he is a builder, toppling
his hair, climbing it again with minded hands
he is arched as if running a bridge,
elevated in his position
as the undefeated ruler of himself.

I have encountered my only enemy,
I realize, a mirror that speaks to him
in futurist illusions of adulthood,
wherein lies of glorious independence
speak in imaginary tongue, and I
am the voice of unheard truth:

“romantic possibilities are not on the other side
of your reflection, know the blessing of your
present reality and speak to it as if it loves you
more than you can love yourself.”

The dark is my welcome time now
your original mirror, your arms tight
have you forgotten yourself?
simple presence with original source
oh, what little you know of life
I will teach you everything.


8 thoughts on “The Mirror

  1. 5h2o says:

    This is beautiful, so heartfelt. You have said a great number of things in this poem about growing up and about parents letting go. “I have encountered my only enemy …” to the heart!

  2. sanberdooboy says:

    at about seven i remember visiting a friend’s house where his mother had a make-up table with an overhead light and a mirror. i looked into it and was amazed and a little frightened by the image i saw. it was about 63 years ago, so that shows how much the experience made an impression. your poem re-captures that moment.

    • Kate Houck says:

      Wow. Thank you for sharing what the poem brought back. It is really special for me to hear that my words can spark such a vivid memory in another’s mind. I’m honored. Thank you again for sharing that reflection. Kate

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