The Mirror

I gently lift the fine-grained, reflecting surface every morning.
I do not think about slanting my eyes with kohl
or shading my cheeks a deeper rose
as I study my features in its charming contour.
When I finish,
I lovingly put down my antique mirror,
years of images captured within time,
my own, and someone else's I did not know before me,
a stranger selling her solitary jewel to me in some antique fair.
The rose pedals softly painted
are waning now; the dark green leaves
with the stem corrugated down its
strangely-held reflection make it a work of art.
Still, it is so much more than that.

I remember my gift to her,
one Christmas morning enchanted by its beauty,
excited to see her budding face reflected in its vision,
delight to open such a lovely treasure.
Yet a little friend had also thought of getting her a mirror,
a purple plastic thing,
and as she opened that, enraptured with her gift
she thought no more of mine & left it.

Years later that optical enchantment sits in my cluttered vanity,
it echoes to me that I age, I cry, I hover
over promises some kept, some lost.
It whispers the joys I feel as I stare into its alabaster base.
I turn it over, and I see reflected in its image
a little bit of me, my worries, my joys, my passions, my boundless longings.
But as I gaze into its years both past and present,
I see that little girl behind me,
peering into that purple trinket,
even while after time she abandons her newfound toy
for other joys.

Eventually with circumstance my child
serenely nudges her way toward me.
Now all grown up,
beguiling vigor of womanhood
embracing me,
she stretches her arms tenderly around my shoulders,
clasping my hands into her own,
our interlaced fingers joined together
cradling that lovely stem of painted roses...
And she looks into the mirror,
we contemplate, together, its fluted flower...
yet we both see not the beauty of antiquity but
a wondrous vision of her and me.

El espejo

An interpretation, not a translation
(because translation is never poetry)
Written simultaneously in both languages

Todas las mañanas levanto esa superficie, el fino grano que refleja su alrededor.
No pienso en nada al maquillar mis ojos con kohl
o al sombrear mis mejillas con una rosa más profunda
mientras estudio mis rasgos en el contorno de ese espejo encantador.
Cuando termino,
Guardo con amor mi cristal antiguo,
años de imágenes capturadas en el tiempo,
la mía, y las de otros, no conocidos,
aunque una fue esa extraña vendiéndome su solitaria joya en una feria de antigüedades.
Los pétalos de rosa suavemente pintados
se destiñen con el tiempo; las hojas de un verde oscuro
con el tallo corrugado en su extraña reflexión
se convierten en una obra de arte.
Aún así, esa luna misteriosa se convierte en tanto más.

Recuerdo mi regalo como si fuera ayer,
encantada en su belleza, una mañana de navidad.
Sentía emoción al ver el capullo de mi hija brillando en su reflexión,
Deleite cuando abriera ese tesoro hechicero.
Sin embargo, una pequeña amiga también le había comprado un espejo,
una cosa púrpura, de plástico.
Así que cuando abrió la ofrenda de su amiga,
cautivada con su regalo, se le olvidó el mío y lo dejó.

Años después, ese embrujo óptico todavía se encuentra en mi desordenado tocador,
Repite ese sutil eco que envejezco, lloro, dudo todo --
Las promesas, unas cumplidas, otras no.
Susurra esas alegrías que siento al mirar su base de alabastro.
Le doy vuelta y me veo reflejada en su imagen:
un poco de mí, mis preocupaciones, mis alegrías, mis pasiones, mis anhelos sin fin.
Pero a medida que recorro los ciclos de la vida,
descubro a esa chiquilla detrás de mí,
ojeando a su morada baratija,
cuando al fin abandona su juguete
por mejores alegrías.

Eventualmente mi hija,
Ya crecida,
abre el paso hacia mí.
Vigor de mujer
me abraza con ternura,
extiende sus brazos, serenamente rodeando mis hombros,
arrimando sus manos hacia mi,
entrelazando sus dedos con los míos,
acunando así ese precioso tallo de rosas...
Y ella se mira en el espejo.
Contemplamos, las dos juntas en su reflexión, esa flor acanalada ...
Sin embargo, nunca vemos la belleza de esa antigüedad
al contemplarla, sino realizamos la mágica visión
de nosotras dos.

______________________________________________

The Three Fates

It’s strange this feeling of emptiness
Nothing going nothing doing
Life goes back and forth.
Desires like the heavy clock tick forward,
backward
tolling into circumstance.

The wanderer does not hear the wife’s lament
But he cries into the night
That she is right:
And so it goes.
And so I'm done.
Life is a …
Sita singing blues?

The frost born sea
Scrapes naked shoulders bare.
Yet I howl the full moon barren
in my unprotected sin
and pray the ice melts storms of wickedness to
liberate my lips
so I can shear my trespassed dreams,
Embroidering infinity thrice over,
one tick forward, one tick back, one tick...

The socks slide down
the knees get scraped.
The elbow grease gets waxed.
Oh the teaching makes no sense
When nothing gains in knowledge
When no one knows what happens
When not one soul can fathom love.

And so I sit alone tick tocking socks
And stitching bookends
like the three fates making time.

_______________________________________________________________________

Being an academic not paid enough for her trouble, Ana M. Fores Tamayo wanted instead to do something that mattered: work with asylum seekers. She advocates for marginalized refugee families from Mexico and Central America. She has published in Acentos Review, The Raving Press, Rigorous, Indolent Books, Chaleur Magazine, Memoir, Poxo Press, Chachalaca Review, and Fron//tera, a literary journal from Spain. Her poetry in translation will be featured in the Laurel Review in early 2019, Cosmographia Books in July 2019, and Black Mountain Press.