Sharon Doubiago: Two Poems


My Mother’s Mirror


My mother loved mirrors. My mother
wasn’t vain. Mirrors mirror light
and open up walled rooms
to all of Nature outside

her claustrophobia, opened up
her mother’s tomb

but probably too my mother watched herself
the orphan from all angles so as to know herself

in the eyes of others. To adjust herself to the world
in the eyes of all Nature, her mother
out there

I have three mirrors in my new room
but I can’t see what I look like
with her gone. She was my mirror. She had the camera. She
took my pictures.

To look again is the meaning of respect. I suspect
I too suffer a degree of her need

the mirror-opposite of vanity

          2. Mortality

When you take the mirror off the wall
leaving the hole in the little blue house along the road
she died in three days ago, when once again
you are moving

you remember it on the wall over your crib, walk
the gold curlicue antique frame, the shining silver plate
outside to the U-haul. The ocean

is lit in such light and motion
all the years come back
her face, all her faces
now yours

Every time you move, even this move, you deny again
her knowing what you know, not
saying anything, mother
who would deny
your knowing what you know
not saying anything


In your house my photo stared at me
and didn’t cease asking: are you, dear child, me?
Were you once twenty of my years
and did she display me caught in her flowers and cacti
only when I came? To prove
her love? To drive my father jealous?
My bloody pajamas under the house, foundation
of our line all the way back, are you
me? Listen you, I am she, yes, and he
but I jumped out from under the house
to see what couldn’t be seen

to measure the depth of the abyss
I married you Mama

          4. Night

Sun lifting from the mountain and lying down
on the ocean horizon. Sun
of memory but your face

is gone. Just the eyes
of all Nature, your mother
out here

When I asked you to take my picture
I was begging you, Mama,
look at me

Now every night I grind away
in your mirror, my face
carving roads
as I sleep here on this new one

mountains, states, my face of graves
from the roots, your nipple
in my mouth

coming ever more into the blood, the river
pounding through, ever more
into the body of Earth. Mother, the mirage
you saw

is no longer your daughter
but your face
in all three of my mirrors

(#3: after Mahmoud Darwhish’s “In My Mother’s House”)

Pacific Ocean Breaks, My Poetics

they come in     from every direction no knowing
which way they’ll turn     break
so wild     foamy in excess their beauty even before
they crash     so monstrously huge     their lust, their light

upon the sand     upon each other     breath
taking     from where on earth
did this come     sometimes
disappointing     piddly     you

turn away     but they don’t
stop     wave
upon wave plowing in     so conflicting
their path, so contrary
the silver soaked shore

going south now     head ripped off
flying behind     the next     tunnel
too immense a girl drowning in the rip tide     nothing

makes her feel more at home now seeing them coming     nothing
makes her more the poet than these long silver lines
coming in

and going back

exploding their own order     all
civil orders     the churning

mudgold blue of the terrorist undertow in front
slanting off     the opposite way     the one behind colliding     they
never stop      too many they don’t sum up      the light
writing the universe      the bioluminescences
of autumn     the girl’s neon body

face down in the sand
gasping air     pound and roar     ever changing rhythm, moan

of earth     turning over
on the turning globe to the blinding sun eye

star surf     of heaven     her
son and daughter inside     surfing to shore

(For my surfer son who gave me the word, bioluminescences, and for my daughter.)

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