Intro by Ted Kooser
When I look in a mirror, I try to compose my face so that it is at its best, but it’s a face that beyond my bathroom gets supplanted by all the more homely faces I carry out into the world. John Thornberg is a Minnesota poet, but here’s a poem of his that reflects upon all of us everywhere.
By John Thornberg
Every time I turn to peer
at my reflection in the mirror,
a cruel bargain comes in play:
the glass takes off another day
from my expected living span.
It’s vanity’s fair payment plan.
Each time I look I pay, alas.
I see already how the glass
has laced its silver in my hair,
my youth was stolen unaware.
The real me just fades away,
glance by glance, day by day,
until too late I’ll turn to see
the mirror has stolen off with me!
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2019 by John Thornberg, “Stolen Glances.” Poem reprinted by permission of John Thornberg. Introduction copyright © 2022 by The Poetry Foundation.
If you liked what you just read and want more of Our Brew, subscribe to get notified. Just enter your email below.
Amanda Gorman ‘Gutted’ after Florida School Bans Biden Inauguration Poem
May 26, 2023
Apr 26, 2023
Baby Photos of the Universe
Apr 16, 2023