~ after “Narcisa and the Two Mirrors,” Armando Valero
Sometimes when you speak or sing,
it is sunlight flashing semaphore-like
from the surface of mirrors. It is thirteen
hummingbirds hovering for the promise of nectar—
They make a jeweled necklace more brilliant
than the brocade of peonies on a woman’s dress.
Sometimes when you think you’re alone, another
face floats on the surface of the one you bring
to the mirror; perhaps, the ghost of who you’ve been.
Or the lover you hope to meet, who is also looking
into a mirror, trying to divine how a whole
world curls around the bodies of fish
rounding each blue bend in the river; how
like music or the sight of tears, there are
things that have moved you without leaving
their trace on skin. And yet the hummingbird
says it’s enough that you can bear parts
of the world smaller than a dewdrop or pearl.
You can consider the moon’s invisible satchel
and its upraised handle, its offer to fill
or pry open; to empty, arrive, travel again,
to carry in its folds only what you can.