A poem for –

Sometimes I choose titles before my pen reaches the paper;

today, this poem, this story, this limb severed from my heart

is half untitled because this is for me, for you

and the one in the mirror we’re so adamant isn’t us.

As if our reflections are portraits we have painstakingly sat for,

only to deny any likeness in the end.


I see my ancestors in graves (the ones with cold earth apologies

soggy in their throats) and gardens (the ones with peonies

and roses for hands, daisies in their laughter), and I tremble.

I begin to weed the garden and place frail dandelions,

wishes all spent, at tombstones.


Because they are not mine and they are not me.

They are the portraits slashed open with knives.


I imagine if you sliced me open, scalpel sunshine,

you would see how squishy I am; empathy in my toxicology –

a dust full of so many whispers my bones are heavy not hollow.

And perhaps if you held a mirror above my autopsy,

I would look more like my reflection than the portrait

I reproduce with oil-stained hands and hang

in every home I’ve ever tried to make & keep. 


Poem: © Kristiana Reed 2020

My poetry collections:

Flowers on the Wall UK

Flowers on the Wall US

Between the Trees UK

Between the Trees US


9 thoughts on “A poem for –

  1. gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com says:

    Kristiana, when I read this, I think about why I refuse to use Skype, and why I hate selfies…mirrors are bad enough!. Maybe I should try to do a self-portrait as in your poem. Those are trivial comments, I know. 🙂

    Your beautiful poem is so deep, so thought-provoking, with powerful imagery. So now I focus on personal identity, my connection to my ansectors, and leaving a legacy..Leaving a legacy through my writing is my focus at this stage of my life, not how I look, but the ideas left behind.

    All the best! Cheryl ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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