Oct/Nov 2018 Poetry Special Feature

The Mirror Demands

by Lisa McMonagle

Public domain image adapted by Tom Dooley

The Mirror Demands

I look. Sometimes
I recognize the set of jaw,
the arch of eyebrow.
Other times she's a familiar
stranger, the sister I always
wanted, the one I would have
settled into my mother's closet with
during rain storms to escape
the thunder clapping.
Mother's dresses would have hung
between us, a curtain of Chanel No. 5
as we took turns playing priest
and penitent, giddily confessing
all our sins in a rush of breathy whispers,
cross my heart, hope to die,
guarding each other's secrets
in a sisterly détente. I would have
tried on parts of her, come
to know her better than
I know myself. Even when
we outgrew each other,
I would still see her in the mirror.


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