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eve Jun 2021
as she looks in the mirror
she can't recognize herself anymore
her reflection
is slowly changing into someone new
someone she doesn't want to be

they say "I wish I had your body"
but all she ever saw were calories
and she stopped eating

they ask "why are you always sad?"
but they don't believe in
trauma and depression
and she keeps breaking

they say "you can trust me"
but they also say that r*pe
and abuse is her fault
and she keeps quiet about it

she would change
everything about herself
if she could

because one girls dream is
another girls nightmare

and everything they do is judge her
emma Apr 2021
they say you are self centered
that you draw the darkness around you
to drag the light and audience close

and the truth is,
they don't lie with their words

you are self centered
not in the way you believe
you belong on a podium

but in the way
you will do anything
to hurt yourself
and anyone who wanders too close
a conversation with the person in the mirror
Suki G Apr 2021
Stretched wide across mountains and valleys,
clusters of hills and springs of rivers,
a soft brown veil dusted with gold.
Take a long nail, pry it aside,
come, see what’s within for a modest fine.
My flesh, a soft pink for a childhood much missed,
my blood, a loud red for all the shocks I’m full of,
my bone, I’m not too sure for none have travelled far
but if you pressed me hard enough, you’d feel it -
scrolls of poems written and yet to be,
my tongue a ribbon binding them all,
my teeth an ivory chest to contain them,
and sweet lips carefully locking them for now.
A treasure trove awaits those
of my blood and water,
presented on a silver platter under
a soft brown veil dusted with gold
stretched wide across mountains and valleys,
clusters of hills and springs of rivers.
Michael R Burch Feb 2021

These are poems about mirrors, images, self-image, reflections and self-reflection. How do we see ourselves differently than other people see us? Why do our impressions of ourselves sometimes end up like so much shattered glass?

Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

for anyone struggling with self-image

She has a comely form
and a smile that brightens her dorm ...
but she's grossly unthin
when seen from within;
soon a griefstricken campus will mourn.

Yet she'd never once criticize
a friend for the size of her thighs.
Do unto others—
sisters and brothers?
Yes, but also ourselves, likewise.

by Michael R. Burch

I am her mirror.
I say she is kind,
lovely, breathtaking.
She screams that I’m blind.

I show her her beauty,
her brilliance and compassion.
She refuses to believe me,
for that’s the latest fashion.

She storms and she rages;
she dissolves into tears
while envious Angels
are, by God, her only Peers.

Is the mirror unkind
by Michael R. Burch

To your lovely brown eyes is the mirror unkind,
revealing far more than reflections defined
in superficial glass, so lacking in depth?
Is the mirror unkind, at times, darling Beth?

What you see my dear, I see different by far,
as our sun from Centauri is just a “small” star,
but here it brings life and warms each day’s start.
Oh, and a mirror can never reveal a true heart.

On Looking into Curious George’s Mirrors
by Michael R. Burch

for Maya McManmon, granddaughter of the poet Jim McManmon aka Seamus Cassidy

Maya was made in the image of God;
may the reflections she sees in those curious mirrors
always echo back Love.


The Mistake
by Mirza Ghalib
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All your life, O Ghalib,
You kept repeating the same mistake:
Your face was *****
But you were obsessed with cleaning the mirror!

by Vera Pavlova
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I shattered your heart;
now I limp through the shards

by Michael R. Burch

for Dylan Thomas

The poet delves earth’s detritus—hard toil—
for raw-edged nouns, barbed verbs, vowels’ lush bouquet;
each syllable his pen excretes—dense soil,
dark images impacted, rooted clay.

The poet sees the sea but feels its meaning—
the teeming brine, the mirrored oval flame
that leashes and excites its turgid surface ...
then squanders years imagining love’s the same.

Belatedly he turns to what lies broken—
the scarred and furrowed plot he fiercely sifts,
among death’s sicksweet dungs and composts seeking
one element that scorches and uplifts.

by Michael R. Burch

for Dylan Thomas

We feel rather than understand what he meant
as he reveals a shattered firmament
which before him never existed.

Here, there are no images gnarled and twisted
out of too many words,
but only flocks of white birds

wheeling and flying.

Here, as the sun spins, reeling and dying,
the voice of a last gull
or perhaps a lost soul,

echoes its lonely madrigal
and we feel its strange pull
on the astonished soul.

O My Prodigal!

The vents of the sky, ripped asunder,
echo this wild, primal thunder—
now dying into undulations of vanishing wings . . .

and this voice which in haggard bleak rapture still somehow downward sings.

by Michael R. Burch

Take this geode with its rough exterior—
crude-skinned, brilliant-hearted ...
a diode of amethyst—wild, electric;
its sequined cavity—parted, revealing.
Find in its fire all brittle passion,
each jagged shard relentlessly aching.
Each spire inward—a fission startled;
in its shattered entrails—fractured light,
the heart ice breaking.

by Michael R. Burch

We stood, kids of the Lamb, to put to test
the beatific anthems of the blessed,
the sentence of the martyr, and the pen’s
sincere religion. Magnified, the lens
shot back absurd reflections of each face—
a carnival-like mirror. In the space
between the silver backing and the glass,
we caught a glimpse of Joan, a frumpy lass
who never brushed her hair or teeth, and failed
to pass on GO, and frequently was jailed
for awe’s beliefs. Like Alice, she grew wee
to fit the door, then couldn’t lift the key.
We failed the test, and so the jury’s hung.
In Oz, “The Witch is Dead” ranks number one.

by Kajal Ahmad, a Kurdish poet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My era's obscuring mirror
because it magnified the small
and made the great seem insignificant.
Dictators and monsters filled its contours.
Now when I breathe
its jagged shards pierce my heart
and instead of sweat
I exude glass.

by Michael R. Burch

Your fingers end in talons—
the ones you trim to hide
the predator inside.
Ten thousand creatures sacrificed;
but really, what’s the loss?
Apply a splash of gloss.
You picked the perfect color
to mirror nature’s law:
red, like tooth and claw.

Mending Glass
by Michael R. Burch

In the cobwebbed house—
lost in shadows
by the jagged mirror,
in the intricate silver face
cracked ten thousand times,
silently he watches,
and in the twisted light
sometimes he catches there
a familiar glimpse of revealing lace,
white stockings and garters,
a pale face pressed indiscreetly near
with a predatory leer,
the sheer flash of nylon,
an embrace, or a sharp slap,
. . . a sudden lurch of terror.

He finds bright slivers
—the hard sharp brittle shards,
the silver jags of memory
starkly impressed there—
and mends his error.

The Poet
by Michael R. Burch

He walks to the sink,
takes out his teeth,
rubs his gums.
He tries not to think.

In the mirror, on the mantle,
Time—the silver measure—
does not stare or blink,
but in a wrinkle flutters,
in a hand upon the brink
of a second, hovers.

Through a mousehole,
something scuttles
on restless incessant feet.

There is no link
between life and death
or from a fading past
to a more tenuous present
that a word uncovers
in the great wink.

The white foam lathers
at his thin pink
stretched neck
like a tightening noose.
He tries not to think.

Keywords/Tags: mirror, image, images, imagery, self, self-image, self discovery, fear of self, self control, self harm, reflection, reflections, reflecting, glass, mrbref
sophie Jan 2021
her eyes are crochet pillows upon a peach couch
that is subsequently her face
red and puffy and not very comfortable

there are only two blues;
her irises
and the gloom that she feels every day

are you ok?
what happened?
people ask as they pass her on the street

she says
im allergic to something
she adds

they ask

she do not know

though she has the inkling of an idea
that she is in fact
allergic to unwanted attention
yann Dec 2020
and by that i mean,
will someone ever cherish it
like i try to do.
yann Dec 2020
and even in the highs, the lows still linger
i told you i loved myself but i'm not made of magic
my skull is thick but still,
it cracks open

i can fool me and you and them but
i have bones wrapped in twenty years of self hate,
and what is loving yourself if not screaming at mirrors and pictures and empty hands

so, please darling, sweet honey, i know i said i was okay
but dont let your words cut sharper than the blades i already plunged through my own **** skin.
one time a fried made a joke abt me that hurt way more than it should've, so i wrote this, and told him not to do it again and it was okay
mythie Nov 2020
Everybody has told me,
that I'm too thick,
that I'm too heavy,
and not good enough.

They told me,
that I'm disgusting,
and annoying.

But, recently I've learned,
that nobody is perfect,
and everybody's ideal,
isn't the same as somebody else's.

I think perfection is an idea,
one we have fabricated,
'cause we can't handle,
the fact that we're disliked.

You can't please everyone,
that's what I've learned,
so I'll forgive you.
'Cause I'm an imperfectly perfect person.
mythie Nov 2020
Picking at my skin,
making me bleed,
scent of flesh,
melting with the rouge.

Stuffing up my chest,
with a knife to my skin,
playing doctor one-on-one,
******* in my breath.

Am I pretty enough?
Are my thoughts pure enough?
Am I desirable enough?
Obedient enough?

heart too big for my body,
keeps leaking out.
It's better with my mouth shut.

I'll gloss my lips,
twisting up my insides,
I'll become all that you want,
until only a shell remains.
nuanced at night Nov 2020
i want to rip off my own skin

piece by piece

and stitch it back together

so that it matches hers

i want to carve my cries

into each and every bone

filing away at myself

until I fit her frame

i want to cut and cut and cut

slashing down to my core

until there is only enough fat

to mold myself into her shape

i want to scrape off my




erasing every feature

until my very essence has disappeared

and i





the ever changing image of beauty

the elusive illusion of perfection

the woman we all strive to be

the woman

the image

the ideal

the ideal that not even she herself can attain
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