Xochiquetzal Candelaria

Empire #1: Mirror

The sun’s reflection in a bucket of water just before a sparrow plunges headfirst, its thirst
breaking the light into bits.


Hephaestus knew this was enough. That we wouldn’t like
our noses, those bumps along the chin, thin spear of hair calling us


widows, crevasses along the eyes. Why repeat them?
Did he think upon reflection we wouldn’t select?


Did he believe we would see smile and frown as round gestures
cradling the invisible—to feel—?


The tall mirror inlaid in the hallway never cracked.
You can see it if you visit Versailles.


Polished metal, the echoes in the glaze are ways
to become a stranger again and again.


At the dressing table, one hand in the dim light reaches
as trains rush through tunnels under the city.


One hand and then the other gather hair away from your neck.
I can’t see you anymore we say I’m seeing someone else.