Thirteen Ways of Looking in the Mirror


Within thirteen desperate glances,

The only trembling thing

Was the eye of the mirror.



I cast three shadows,

Like a light

In which there are three mirrors.



The mirror laughed at the silent tears,

It was an image of the emptying.



My shadow and myself

Are two.

My shadow and myself and a mirror

Are two.



I do not know what I’m seeing—

The chaos of the broken

Or the chaos of transformation,

The mirror telling

Or just a lie.



Air conditioner filled the room

With ghostly figures.

The vortex of the mirror

Sucked it, in and out.

The fear

Glimpsed in the chasm

An undesirable calling.



O cruel men of Austin.

Why do you dream of breaking the glass?

Do you not see how the mirror

Screams into the soul

“Of the women about you?”



I know painful voices

And repressed, unimaginable nightmares;

“But I know, too,”

That the mirror is to blame

For what I know.


When the mirror dimmed out of view,

It opened doors

To two of many spirals.



At the sight of mirrors

Blocking paths to exits,

Even the guardians of safety

Would panic inside.



He did cartwheels over Texas

With a large gun.

Twice, a love left him,

“In that he mistook”

The silhouette of his pistol

For mirrors.



The ocean is roaring.

The mirror must be crashing.



It was midnight all day every day.

She was singing

And she was going to sing.

The mirror hid

Behind the curtains.



*This poem is a parody/imitation of Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”


About tanyas13sonnets

poet and dreamer
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