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Old and Young


If you have looked at someone in
a mirror
looking at you in the mirror

your eyes meeting
there
not face to face

                 

backstage as you
prepare
for a performance

                 

you look into the long horizontal
mirror
that backs the long theatrical

make-up table that runs along one
wall of the high dressing-room aerie
from which you must descend to the stage

                 

there in the mirror you see
his eyes
looking into your eyes in the mirror

where you
plural
amused begin to talk

suddenly inspired not
to look at each other
directly but held by this third

thing as his eyes
allow your eyes to
follow his eyes in the mirror

you ask if anyone has ever
made a movie
in which two people talk not

directly to each other but during
the entire
static but dynamic

film as they go about their lives
their eyes are
locked staring at each other in a mirror

that they together hold a few feet
above them
or beside them

knowing if they look away
they will lose
what they now possess

trapped but freed
neither knowing
why this is better

why this
as long as no one enters
is release

because you are
twice
his age

THIS IS THE PLACE IN
NATURE
WE CAN MEET

space which
every other
space merely approximates

you ask again if
anybody made a movie
about this

                 

others
enter loudly and when you
plural each look away you plural soon go on


Frank Bidart

Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
Farrar, Straus and Giroux


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