THREE MINUTES ON TUESDAY
The facts are these: the screws came out.This dressing table – my mother’s since her girlhood –
has sat in my house for twenty years.
Ornate and curliqued,
it wears a dark veneer once thought elegant.
The mirror’s been loose and rocking for years,
and when the screws gave way
it leaned back lazily toward the wall,
then yesterday, slid forward,
pushing off everything – the coal oil lamp
that was Great-grandmother’s,
my one bottle of good perfume,
a memorial basket of flowers,
and other stuff, now lost beneath my bed.
The mirror now lies staring upward,
blind to all but the flat gray ceiling.
This lovely piece is possibly past repair
for its wood has gone to punk. Gone, Mother
and Great-grandmother. Gone the man whose death
left me the flowers. And the good perfume –
evaporation will see to that.
On the wall, the mirror’s frame has left
a long dark streak,
and for some reason this makes me saddest of all.