Mirrors at 4 a.m.

By Charles Simic b. 1938 Charles Simic
You must come to them sideways
In rooms webbed in shadow,
Sneak a view of their emptiness
Without them catching
A glimpse of you in return.
 
The secret is,
Even the empty bed is a burden to them,
A pretense.
They are more themselves keeping
The company of a blank wall,
The company of time and eternity
 
Which, begging your pardon,
Cast no image
As they admire themselves in the mirror,
While you stand to the side
Pulling a hanky out
To wipe your brow surreptitiously.

Charles Simic, “Mirrors at 4 a.m.” from Walking the Black Cat. Copyright © 1996 by Charles Simic. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Source: Walking the Black Cat (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996)

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Poet Charles Simic b. 1938

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Charles  Simic

Biography

Charles Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. Simic’s work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and, simultaneously, the Wallace Stevens Award and appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. He taught English and creative writing for over thirty years at the University of New Hampshire. . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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