Lyn Lifshin



for fear that

a mirror will

capture or

deter the soul

on the way to

the after life.

I remember a

different story,

the winter my

father fell on

his face in

snow a month

after John

Kennedy and Dick

Wood, barely

20, toppled as

if his heart

was too big. Days

before my sister

and I were to

testify in

court against him

my father

fell, turned the

white mounds rose.

We washed our hands

at the cemetery

to not bring death

back to my aunt’s

redecorated house.

The mirrors were

waxed over, soaped.

Maybe black would

not go with

her new colors. Or

it would compete

with her

licorice hair.

Death was inside the

mirror someone

whispered. If you

looked, you’d go

next. But my grand

mother shook her

head, said it would

just be vanity at

such a time to

check lipstick

or powder. Three

months later, my grand

father couldn’t make

the stairs and said

things that seemed

nonsense, except

for telling my mother

he’d been wrong, it

was not a sin for her

to want to dance and

he was sorry he stopped

her, then he slid into

silence. I tried

to remember if he’d

cheated, a little as he

would eating chocolate

during Passover, couldn’t

resist a chance to

spy as he would on

me, following me to the

campus theater to see if I

would let a boy touch

me. I wonder if he

scraped some of the

soap off the glass and met his own eyes.

Copyright © 2002 Lyn Lifshin.  All Rights Reserved.

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