Complainte du Miroir
my foremost virtue.
don’t lie. And, if my truths hurt you,
know that’s never my intention.
just so much that you don’t mention
all those strangers you call friends,
that you, too, misapprehend
yourself. The way you dance
in just your underpants,
how you putter through dim rooms
archeologists through tombs
treasures lie with mummifiedPharaohs in darkness, side by side,
80s reruns help you eat
wondering if that stink’s your feet—
all these things, my life, suggest
you’ve got something on your chest,
in it, that makes you afraid:
bonhomie is a charade,
we both know it. You avoid
so that life may be “enjoyed,”
you get old, and pudgier,
say it’s not you: no, it’s her,
Muslims, it’s Republicans,
one-percenters with fake tans,
socialists in colleges,
darling, we know who it is.
E’en yon noble Magnavox
been replacèd by a box
inches long, a tiny screen
God’s antique demesne:
monitor it, like it might move.
look at me, and be my love,
we’ll prove every pleasure hollow
that hard snowball you swallow
you abandon every hope
this man’s art and that man’s scope
face the little life that's left you.
hate me now, I know. It’s true
love looks just like cruelty,
Sirens promise compromise
souls, tongues dripping honeyed lies;
someday, all around, you’ll see
skulls shrieking silently,
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.