Today's poem is by Patty Seyburn

So When She Looks at Her Reflection

If there is an anteroom
between here and an afterlife,
there paces my mother, not renown
for her patience

so give her a break, gatekeeper,
save yourself from her exasperation
and answer when she raps
her knuckles, smartly,

her nails ridged and red, light rouge,
her hair pale down.
We had a foyer, but never kept
people waiting there — they were in

or out, with one exception:
the burglar who we would exclude,
had he not found his way
upstairs and scrawled a menace,

"Smile" in lipstick near my room,
having mastered irony, no ordinary felon.
I ran upstairs before my mother knew
fear, came down when I found it.

If Lethe is your transition of choice,
let her cross and begin the forgetting
and give her a life-jacket
on the way over or she will

drive you crazy: why drown after dying?
Lend a mirror so she can put on
her face and bring a little artifice
with her. Let the waters erase

the memory of fear, anonymous
months, but leave the odd narrative —
shouldn't we be able to take
one story with us? Not even

a pleasant one — just to know
who you were? If you never
had a foyer, you'd imagine it
more grand than it was: really, it was

just a threshold, a place to
arrive, pause, abandon.

Copyright © 2011 Patty Seyburn All rights reserved
from Green Mountains Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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