In the Mirror
Third Place - Poetry

We stood in front of the mirror in the hotel bathroom.  My hands rested
            on your shoulder while your hands
                        held a comb and a magazine.

Your face in the mirror covered mine
                                                            like a mask I could move side to side
            my face came in and out of focus.

Did you say you loved me? I don’t think so.
                        But then, it doesn’t matter because
                                                                        I never loved you either.

That may be a lie.
Shatter me like glass, and watch the lies
like water
   down the cracks.

While I showered you watched television to learn
            about the Kilmainham gaol and sheep shearing and the extinction of Gaelic.
                                    Under the water I imagined the click of the channel up button.

I remember Ireland, soft winds through rough heather, yellow gorse and brown peat—
            I wish you had buried me in brown peat
                                    in Irish marshes with the lost children and their tolling bells.

I remember you left me in the hotel room
                                    to buy cigarettes in the lobby.
My face alone in the mirror           
                                                                        seemed like a mistake.

I imagined a white eraser and I erased
                        the dirty glasses by the sink and your pants on the floor
                                                your toothbrush and mine and the small bottles of shampoo
                                    the melting soap and the used towels

then I started with my cheekbones
                                                      and moved down
            tracing lines and rubbing--

If you had come back, you wouldn’t have shared the cigarettes 
                                                and I wouldn’t have asked.