Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Searching This City’s Thrift Stores for Mirrors

I rejected
the comforts I had contrived for myself; I exchanged them
for a rain of small faces on the abandoned street.
—Donald Hall, The One Day

Looking along each aisle for any sharp angle of light,
I walk past discarded hats and exhumed outfits,
past pots and pans and “Jesus Loves You” and “God
As Your Witness” signs, until finally a spark steps out
from that darkness and there’s one wavy sheet of
glass like a lake surface petrified and my figure
stenciled and groovy like a drawing from the ’60s in
a wanderer’s notebook—a sketch in one of Hesse’s
journals: like the Alps looming behind him, there’s
a largeness that follows me. To each of us our luggage.
With every glance I let go, one aisle and another
gone. Remembered mountains now flattening
with distance. Clouds pulled apart by a single
thread that I take and tie around my waist, a safe rope
of light to descend by. I climb into the basement of
the Salvation Army, fluorescent dance of bulbs
flicking Morse code, and fight my way through old
shoes, march past candleholders holding no candles,
come upon a frame and my figure, again, lit right there
in the middle of it. Then the doorbell blinks and
light becomes sound as a past self exits, or enters.