Shattered

I turn on the light

and I am greeted

by a thousand tiny reflections,

each shining their little light back at me.

I close my eyes

and open them again,

certain that once,

I was greeted with a single, solid image,

but I am crestfallen

to behold only a thousand pieces

of my shattered reflection.

 

I am struck by a realization;

I am now without reflection.

Perhaps I do not exist as I once did?

Maybe, I can now stray from what I was?

That old reflected image,

that was cast back at me

like a curse word

every time I turned this light on.

This could be my chance

to shake off the last bits

of an old disappointment,

escape the judgements

of my sinister self

and find a new place,

a new perspective

in a more polished surface.

 

Smiling to myself,

I shake my head and laugh,

because I know the idea is ridiculous

and it doesn’t matter

whether I can find some new

and lofty image

in another shiny surface;

someone will still have to clean up

these shards on the floor.

 

I fetch the broom

and begin to sweep up the pieces

of a broken self,

a broken mind.

The splintered remains of a fragile man.

And as they roll and tumble into the pile,

each piece casts off its own light,

reflecting the light from different angles,

showing different images

and I recognize every one.

 

Every little shard that casts back

the light towards me,

bears uncanny resemblance

to a moment,

to a memory.

Some triumph, or trauma,

or long awaited sunrise,

or hushed and silent nightfall,

the kind coveted by new lovers.

A loving parent, a sibling’s laughter,

the tears of an accepted marriage vow…

 

… I bend over

and retrieve a shard from the pile.

It is no longer than my little finger,

sharp and slender

and when I turn its face towards mine,

I am surprised to see only one thing

reflected back at me;

Myself.

My eyes.

My face.

My own being,

but only one, tiny piece of it.

 

I curse,

as turning the shard over in my hand,

I cut myself along one of its razor edges,

and my blood wells up quickly,

for the cut is deep and clean.

Blood runs down my hand

and drips onto the pile of glass at my feet.

I leave the room for a moment,

returning quickly,

finger bandaged haphazardly

and with glue and tape in hand.

 

I drop to my knees

and slowly, painstakingly;

I,

piece by piece

and bit by bit

begin to rebuild this broken image.

It takes a long time

and I am cut again,

more than once,

but when it is complete,

I stand back;

and there,

in the light,

is one, single reflection.

An image of me.

 

It is cracked all over.

A roadmap of broken edges

and distorted planes

where I couldn’t get the pieces

to line up perfectly.

It is smeared with glue

and blood

and in some places

where I had to use tape

to hold in an especially troublesome piece,

It does not reflect at all.

But it catches the light perfectly

and casts back at me

an honest and complete image.

 

I stand there,

in front of my entirety

for but a moment,

tracing the lines

and the pieces

and how I was put together;

bit by bit.

Then I walk away

and shut off the light.

The image exists no more,

for it was only for that moment,

that instant,

that it held the light.

The moment for reflection has passed

and I leave the room;

ready to live

and be shattered again.

 

HG – 2016

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