Munchausen by Proxy

my mother has mirrors
like those intricately carved
and gilded in gold
what a queen
might have used
or film stars
of the 1940’s
without their mirrors
and stories of old
the scrubbing never ended
the scrubbing of dishes,
and pots and plates
it could never be finished
what I mean is
one was always

jealous step sister
with too big feet
or the second one in line
for the throne
the third runner up
for some kind of
film star award
no matter what one’s
royal lineage
until one took off

one’s apron
to relax for a bit
perhaps mom took off
a pink one

the one with green stitching
and pointed and starched
black lace
that she had sewn
all by herself

from scraps
she had retrieved from

the rag bin
and found herself
content to cast image
onto something
or someone

else for awhile
and that’s how it all
got started
so long ago
the spell casting

of images
Mom’s magic mirrors
the mistaking
of her own reflection
for a daughter
in the silverware
or the dinner plates
Mom still holds things up
for inspection
wherever she finds
her magic mirrors
and sees reflections
and hears voices
that seem to make life
not shiny enough
or make the neighbors
gossip and point

and now
all I have to remember

remember her by
Mom’s true self
is my own grief
when she casts with
such impunity
and purpose
like a professional
to make me the object
of all that she despises
in her imagination
inside of herself

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