this hair that fights gravity
& hairspray & leaps in response
to doors closing
is my mother’s hair.  like her,
i brush back bangs
even at night,
as if they won’t riot again
on my pillow
in minutes.  the war is

if i look closer, i see more
of my mother reflected
than that hair; in the eyes
that see more than the mouth tells

lips turned up
at the joke no one gets
because it is unspoken,
god’s wit whispered in ears

giggling in church
or neighborhood meetings
or worse, not looking
and feeling the laugh,
quietly irreverent

i feel that joy pinging against the mirror
wanting out
& smile back at the her in my eyes

***At Dverse, we are drawing self portraits.  Here is a kind of free-write in front of my mirror.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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62 Responses to mirrors

  1. Green Speck says:

    Your poems always have such beautiful meanings which draw the events write before our eyes 🙂

  2. ManicDdaily says:

    very nice. Great to have a laugh-ridden face! k.

  3. Susan, I think you did something wonderful here. The bringing up of our relationship to our parents and how such revelations come to us, is perfect here, and really takes the prompt itself to a new meaning for me. Excellent piece. Thanks

  4. My own mother always used to say: “If you want to know how so and so will look in years to come, look at the mother” … More often than not, I have to say, she was right.
    Sounds like your mom was lovely 🙂

  5. Maybe I shouldn’t have used passed tense..and should have said ‘Is lovey.’

  6. I love the reflection back to your mother here – we find family in those small gestures. I find myself saying things the same as my Mum and it irritates and pleases me at the same time.
    Also, love the hair references. I can identify with that! 🙂

    • Thanks, Holly–ah, you share that blowy hair thing? My sympathies!

      Yes, I laughed and cringed the first time I yelled at my kids to not chase each other with sticks, because out of my mouth came those words of my mom–“Stop–you’ll put an eye out!” We were always going to put out those eyes, according to her, LOL.

  7. brian miller says:

    smiles…i feel you…i think it is cool to be able to see our parents in ourselves…i got my dads nose for sure…lol…and my moms twinkle in the eyes…its nice too once they are gone to be able to remember them as well when we look in the mirror…smile.s..

  8. Very sweet. I like that you’ve used your mother as such an intricate part of the self portrait. You’ve also honored her with the poem, and you’ve shared a special relationship with your readers. I really like it.

  9. if i look close I too see much of my mother … I enjoyed this, is was gentle and playful.
    My hair hangs down to my bum… and if I don’t lay it out right on the pillow I end up choking my silly self!

  10. lovely to see those eyes looking back at you – and the joy pinging back – wonderful portrait of you and your mom! K

  11. The Enfant Terrible says:

    A really heart-felt and poignant piece, Susan. I love the parallels you draw between you and your Mother. It feels like a dual portrait. You always inject a sense of warmth into your pieces and your description is amusing at times, too. I love it.

  12. Gay Cannon says:

    I see you in your words, and know you through your joy and it is all beautiful, you are so beautiful.

  13. This is my first time seeing your work, but I think I will probably read more in the future. Nice comparison.

  14. Funny, but the older I get, the more I see my mother in me too ~

    I enjoy the introspection ~ Happy weekend ~

  15. So lovely it must be to see as you do – really nice writing.

  16. This is beautiful and very human, a marvelous snapshot of you and through her gift of love and genetics, your mother.

  17. Mary says:

    Oh yes, I identify with seeing a bit of my mother too. Sigh. Love the ending where you are smiling back at yourself. Truly, I think we have to in order to ‘survive.’ LOL.

  18. jmgoyder says:

    This poem took my breath away – absolutely beautiful.

  19. Patti says:

    There is so much love and joy in this. I love it, Susan.

  20. love the nod to your mom…seeing a bit of her in you…inward and outward…love this

    • Thank you, Claudia. Any self-portrait of mine is going to include her, because although I have always been told I look like my father, the older I get, the more of my mother I see in my face. Glad you liked!

  21. brandyeli says:

    “as if they won’t riot again/in my pillow” stunning visual and personication for your hair. I love this poem.

  22. David King says:

    Each piece I’ve read of yours so far has given me great pleasure, but now I feel there is a cumulative effect. They all seem so much a piece of a greater piece. I shall watch with interest. For now: this is quite, quite lovely.

  23. Pingback: MIRRORS | edge of frog

  24. 17rick47 says:

    A link to this poem can now be found at ‘edge of frog’

  25. Leo says:

    Lovely, Susan, especially the last lines. Love the pinging joy! So strange, I’m working on something with a mirror but with a much different bent. Leo

  26. kkkkaty says:

    ..a universal happening I think to see our mother in ourselves….her imprint left on all of us…well told 😉

  27. Susan, that opening line is perfection. Hell, the whole poem is!

  28. Sabio Lantz says:

    My goodness — I love the insane, spontaneous, spacious laugh — and the discipline of holding it back and enjoying it privately 0-0 — very nice

  29. nelle says:

    Such wonderful homage to her – and you.

  30. Chaty Lorens says:

    Lovely. A skilful self-portrait that manages to become a tribute to your mom / family as well. Well done!

  31. I am my mother’s daughter, through and through.

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