Seeing is believing.

So the saying goes.

Though it might be said what we believe remains to be seen.

Or, what we see we believe to be real.

But is it?

Or just a belief that it’s real?

That is the question.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

But even a mirror can distort the truth.

And what is real.

Take, for instance, my mirror.

I look at it.

But I am not looking at the mirror.

I am looking at what the mirror reflects back to me.

And I refuse to believe it.

That can’t be right.

I know, for a fact, that’s not true.

That human face belongs to someone else.

Someone much older than me.

Someone with glasses.

Progressive bifocals no less.

And lines delicately engraved from the corners of the mouth sloping downwards.

Not like a frown.

More like the hinged mouth of a marionette.

And more lines, likewise, from the outer corners of the eyes as though maybe one day they will connect with the temples.

Some call them laugh lines.

Or crow’s feet.

And just look at how the skin, no longer taut, rests folded upon each eyelid like one might loosely fold a blanket at the foot of the bed.

First you stand at the foot of the bed and fling the blanket open onto the bed.

Then you make sure the blanket covers the end of the bed.

From there you take the top end of the blanket and bring it back towards you in a fold.

And then double back with another fold so that the top of the blanket faces the head of the bed.

This way, when one wakes up in the middle of the night because one is cold, one need only to reach down without opening one’s eyes and grab the top of that spare blanket and pull it up around one’s ears and fall happily back to sleep.

Such are the folds on this human’s eyelids.

Oh, and there are creases too.

Around the lips. 

And all along the forehead.

It looks like someone who has dealt with some trials and tribulations.

But the lips, still full and soft, indicate a lot of laughter and receptivity.

Clearly this mirror lies.

I stare at it.

That can’t be right.

No wonder the Zen monastery forbade use of mirrors.

The whole point of zazen was to break through the illusion of life and death.

And to realize one’s true nature.

Which can’t be reflected in a mirror.

In other words, mirrors can’t be trusted.

They mislead and distract.

And convince one to check with them first before all else.

In what light would it ever be right?

Or real?

Look what happened to Narcissus.

Now there’s a lesson to be learned.

By Renee Walker

Read more poetry!


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