Thursday, January 20, 2011

When I Look into the Mirror

When I Look into the Mirror
 
A leafless old oak outside my window
that stands out against the blue—what tears should look like from blue eyes—
no clouds because they fell away to the sun.
I can see its edges, sharp.  But when I put on my glasses
I can see depth, shadows in the skin I did not know were there.
 
I.
 
The evening bells have rung and the news is old—
my son reads his words to me
innocent rhymes and sweet ideas.  There is a shadow
in his eyes when he hugs me
 
with a son’s love that I miss more than I thought I would
as he aged older and started junior high.
 
Turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin bread and beans
dot the plates with a dusting of crumbs.
On the floor we spin tops for an hour
while the chaos of clean-up blows around us—
we are oblivious:  smiling laughing playing.
 
At home, he went to his room and I to mine.
 
II.
 
Smoke from his early morning cigar fills the cab
so that he may not have seen me turning off the street
but my hands grip tighter my heart beats faster
for he must be the why I am late.
 
III.
 
The beautiful game, the pitch, the victories and the losses
have kept us close through the years.
But she no longer plays with a smile
 
and I cannot remember the last.  I speak to her of life,
what she looks for in a boy but she grins and pats my arm
and talks to her mother and I am left out.
 
Long ago, she held my hand when I took her to her first movie—
all smiles laughter and popcorn crumbs on her shirt
and stories to tell and wanting to go again tomorrow.
She wept in that range that crushed my bones
 
and it was the first disappointment.
 
IV.
 
I cannot find my glasses when I look in the mirror.
 
A voice screaming:  Where are you?
 
--JC Crumpton is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis.  He currently lives in Northwest Arkansas with his wife and two children, laboring often to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid.  His poetry has appeared in Outer Darkness, Dark Lady Poetry, Tainted Tea, Beyond Centauri, and Aoife's Kiss.

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