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Text of Poem

The mirror lacks depth,
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.

First Line
The mirror lacks depth,
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Virginia Quarterly Review 51 (Winter 1975) 71.
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References and Commentary
"I have traveled widely in Concord" is a reference to Thoreau's Walden.
Twitter Quote
My tracks aren’t meant / to be followed.