You see a spider’s web,
a fat crop of petals, or are they leaves,
in the foreground.
The gossamer holds the plant
and the photo together. But of course
you begin to see a new thing:
the web is really a pane of fractured glass,
a seven year mirror
counting out fragments edging against other fragments,
jagged incidents of bad luck
somebody just out of frame can’t quite bring themselves
to believe in.
So, in the bookshop, this is a conveniently sticky problem:
isn’t the mirror seen at first as a web
a nearly perfect metaphor for something to do
with getting caught in seeing things
as things, but not clearly?
Isn’t it funny how you’ve seen the wrong thing
but have still spoken truth?
I can’t begin the laughter. I’ll only smile:
you are my friend, and the irony we speak
is something difficult to move in.
Its pieces are barely hanging together,
that much is transparent,
that much of a pattern
has been formed. It’s like a web a spider’s woven,
like looking at something that looks back through a mirror
cracked like a child’s drawing of a star.
Whatever, your eye
is truer than we could know.
We haven’t thought this yet,
so in fact we do laugh.