Mirror Time

It has recently come to my attention
that my mother has elbowed me aside
to claim center stage in the bathroom mirror.
True to form you’d have to say
planting herself in the middle of things.

And wouldn’t you know she’d occupy
the one place I could always find myself.
But there she is now every morning
her gnarled fingers and faded curls
her lined cheeks and drooping jowls.

Of course I’ve tried to disregard her
turning away never meeting her eye
but she’s not so easily ignored.
Just yesterday I caught her staring
in the window of my favorite bookstore.

I thought maybe we could talk about it
arrange a time-share sort of thing
but she wouldn’t shut up wouldn’t listen.
Now she’s using my toothbrush my lipstick
my bra can you believe it she’s wearing my bra!

And just when I’m really seething at her nerve
she smiles at me with all those teeth.
Her eyes crinkle up and for a second
she stops looking like a haggard old woman
and what can I do? I smile back.


Nudibranch, Indonesia, copyright 2005 Mary Pearson

Copyright 2012,  J.I. Kleinberg

J.I. Kleinberg works and plays with words. She is co-author of the book Fat Stupid Ugly: One Woman’s Courage to Survive, is a past winner in the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest and blogs most days at She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and doesn’t own a television.

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