Two Poems by Kathryn Staublin


Artwork by Alice Lin

I, Mirror

There you go again
smiling in the mirror
bearing those teeth
that aren’t as white
or as straight
as you want them to be.

You curl your lips,
squint your eyes,
try to make your face
wrinkle or unwrinkle just right
so it seems convincing,
charming, but it is only
there in passing

Surely the world
can see right through you
as I do.

At a certain angle,
you seem like something
more than what you are
someone beautiful
someone confident
someone free from the constraints
and burdens of your introverted life

But when you let your hair down,
when you walk away from the mirror
and turn the lights off, disgusted
with yourself, I will remain there
watching you walk away
every smile
every frown
every tear

One day you’ll look through me
and see the little girl that you buried
for years
in makeup and hairspray and facial expressions
that just don’t fit the contours of your face

And you’ll wonder if she’s still in there
somewhere, and if you still belong together,

just as you and I belong here,
contemplating the reactions of the world
through a silver pane of unbroken glass.



The Spider Plant

I look up from the quiet confines
of my dining room table,
and notice movement.

You respond so quietly
to the subtle tremors
of the world.

A breath of air,
the inconsistent heat
from the furnace—

the gentle quake of a pen
on paper
in a journal
on a table
in the middle of the room.

Stretch your spider legs
as far as they can go,
asking for a drink of water.

Your leaves curl at the edges,
pleading silently, but you are too polite
to let the copper streaks show in the light.

Long shadows cascade outward
from your pot, growing
longer still.

The sun is not far, but you must be patient—
everything that you need,
everything that you desire
is only around the corner,
is only a matter of time.



Kathryn Staublin is a writer and English teacher from Indianapolis, Indiana.


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