BRIEF HISTORY OF MIRRORS
They say he has a magic mirror.
Held up to the moon it shows him
the future, discoveries waiting. He sees
numbers are the origin of music, music
the soul of all things. My face is altered
by polished kitchen surfaces, the glass cabinet
at the end of the hall, my bedroom window
when night falls. In the wardrobe mirror
I follow the arc of elbow across my body
as I pull my bow against
the cello strings. Each motion a reference
to the invisible lover standing behind me.
II. Russian Village
Midnight, a girl takes a torch and a mirror
to an empty hut, sets the mirror opposite
the open door and waits for the likeness
of her future husband to appear.
I place a bowl of water at my door, set a knife
in the bowl so evil spirits will see their souls pierced
and flee. From below my open window
whispers rise like underwater music. III. Nostradamus
He stares into a pool of water. Visions
come to him in complete quatrains.
He says, listen when I say this is true—
bind yourself to the day, the light
of the sun, the brightness of the moon.
I leave, a shadow slipping under the door,
drive to the house of a boy I used to know,
park on the dark street, look up.
IV. da Vinci, Kepler
The first believes the artist’s soul is a mirror,
taking the colour of all it reflects. The second
studies comets, thunder, falling leaves,
concludes each thing contains all others,
the earth itself is a gentle mirror, the mind
is full of windows. I balance my left hand
with my bow, shoulders centred, wrist loose.
This is what I know—morning
on my mirror, the perfect pitch
of an open chord, ease of a shift
down the cello string like something slipping
out of its skin.
Karen Schindler is the publisher of Baseline Press, a micro-press in its tenth year of publishing Canadian poets in hand-sewn poetry chapbooks. In 2021, Baseline Press will be embarking on a new partnership with the recently restructured Insomniac Press, to become its poetry chapbook imprint. In 2017, Karen stepped down as a managing director of the Poetry London Reading Series after serving over ten years. Her poetry and book reviews have appeared in journals including The Malahat Review, Canthius, GUEST, and The Fiddlehead. She has also worked as a chemical engineer, a systems analyst, and a high-school mathematics teacher.
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