on the page magazine

issue no. 3, summer 2001
adult adolescence


Mirror Image

by Gerren Liles

after another failed attempt
at finding
my true love
I recall my mother
telling me
how dashing
my father was

he had this charm
that held fast
the unbridled spirit
of her wilder days
having been taught to harness
the summer wind
by his father

a dark man
whose skin knew the sun well
whose arms were known
for their ability
to work
to love

she told me

if I
tuck in my gut
deepen my voice
grow a few more inches
tell more jokes
put a swagger in my walk
close my right eye slightly
when I smile

I would be just like them

I run anxiously to the mirror
hoping to see someone
other than

my true love staring back at me
unfound still

Gerren Liles is a poet and writer in Brooklyn, New York. His first volume of poetry, On the Road to Damascus, which includes the poem published here as "Mirror Image," has developed a readership throughout the United States and Europe. Gerren is a group leader at a children's center and events coordinator for Black Alchemist Press, Ink.

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