Ryan Wilson

Complainte du Miroir


Fidelity’s my foremost virtue.

I don’t lie. And, if my truths hurt you,

Please know that’s never my intention.

There’s just so much that you don’t mention

To all those strangers you call friends,

And that you, too, misapprehend

About yourself. The way you dance

Alone in just your underpants,

And how you putter through dim rooms

Like archeologists through tombs

Where treasures lie with mummified

Pharaohs in darkness, side by side,

How 80s reruns help you eat

While wondering if that stink’s your feet—

Well, all these things, my life, suggest

That you’ve got something on your chest,

Or in it, that makes you afraid:

Your bonhomie is a charade,

And we both know it. You avoid

Me so that life may be “enjoyed,”

While you get old, and pudgier,

And say it’s not you: no, it’s her,

It’s Muslims, it’s Republicans,

It’s one-percenters with fake tans,

It’s socialists in colleges,

But, darling, we know who it is.

Lo! E’en yon noble Magnavox

Hath been replacèd by a box

Three inches long, a tiny screen

Usurping God’s antique demesne:

You monitor it, like it might move. 

Come, look at me, and be my love,

And we’ll prove every pleasure hollow

Except that hard snowball you swallow

When you abandon every hope

Of this man’s art and that man’s scope

And face the little life that's left you.

You hate me now, I know. It’s true

My love looks just like cruelty,

And Sirens promise compromise

Soothes souls, tongues dripping honeyed lies;

But someday, all around, you’ll see

Shapely skulls shrieking silently,

And then you’ll see yourself with me.

Ryan Wilson is the author of The Stranger World, awarded the 2017 Donald Justice Prize, which will be published by Measure Press this summer. Recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in such journals as First Things, Five Points, The Hopkins Review, The New Criterion, The Sewanee Review, and The Yale Review. The editor of Literary Matters, the online journal of the ALSCW, he holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and Boston University, and he is currently a doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America.




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