Her eyes flicker in a moment of remembrance
And I am there in her mirror.
She touches her vain hair and forms a moue of pleasure
With her bow lips.
She pleases herself with what she sees,
But I can see what she cannot see:
A drab, empty woman, all promises spent,
Her looks are on the wane but her vanity is blind.
Her hair piled up and lips a vibrant red,
And cheeks are coloured pink, eyes painted and blue.
Oh what you could have been once
With your fair face and bright keen mind,
The plans you made with childhood friends,
The future to be grasped, the images of life to live
Hanging like droplets of sunshine in your girlhood’s air,
Waiting to be touched, gathered, counted.
You were going to write an opera, sing at the Met,
Paint portraits, write poems, and save the world.
But you gazed in your mirror and you touched your hair
And let your beauty carry you without much thought;
And operas were written, but not by you
And arias were sung, but your voice was dumb;
The portraits and the poems had someone else’s name
And the world was never saved, least not by you.
And all the while you waited, smiling,
Waited and assumed you’d be discovered, but you were not;
That someone else would lead you to the Met,
And to the portraits and the books,
The saving of the world and the fulfilment of your plans.
But no, it did not happen and here you are
Still playing to the gallery, smiling on yourself
And waiting, waiting to be discovered.
Look at you, you drab, with your girl’s looks on the turn,
Whiling away your days just gazing in the mirror,
Remembering your plans and the bright promise of life to live.
‘There is still time’ you gaily say, but there is none.
I open the door and leave you in your room,
And a slight breeze moves your hair and you look round
But I am gone, the child that once you were,
And you will look for me in vain. I am not there.