A Flaw in the Mirror

By Ted Kooser

It was at eye-level, a small swirl in the glass.
I had to hold my head just so to see it.
Something had surfaced and seen me there,
and, with a flourish, turned back, leaving
the glare only slightly disturbed. Could it
have been someone I’d hurt years ago, or
a secret I’d kept so long that it had all but
disappeared, settling fathoms deep to lie
in the darkness, waiting, for fifty or sixty,
perhaps even seventy years? It seemed
there was something the flaw sensed in me
that had at last awakened it, and it had
risen up through and into my reflection.
It flashed, just once, and then it sank away.


Ted Kooser’s most recent collection of poems is Red Stilts, from Copper Canyon Press. He has a chapbook forthcoming from Pulley Press, a children’s picture book from Candlewick Press, and a collection of poems for young people from University of Nebraska Press, all due out in 2022.

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