Birds in a Mirror

(After the image “Cloud Dance” by Claire Ibarra)

Eyes locked with the old man,
I’m reminded of stark trees

naked in winter
branches devoid

of color, only
a remembrance of beauty.

Mottled with imperfection,
his body mocks,

moving when I move,
clouding the perfect blue sky

of how things ought to be
with the red-tinged light
of a setting sun.

Two of me, one real,
one only a copy.

Or is it all
smoke and mirrors?

Can others look
and see which is true?

Is he my reflection
or I his

in this upside down world
folded over on itself
like an ink blot test?

Faults stare back,
long denied and ignored.

Surely something must distinguish
facade from reality beneath,

longings sprouting wings
and flying free,

transcending and betraying
the reflection before me.

©2021 Kenneth W. Arthur