My mirrors at home are kind,
But photos do not lie. And in them I see
A face unknown to me, though I have lived its contours and ridges,
I have stamped its surface with a roadmap of passions and wounds.
Recently someone said that I have much in common with Annette Benning—
The same hair, same coloring, the same age. The same apparent aversion to
Map-erasing surgeries and nerve numbing agents.
I cannot speak for Annette, but in photos I see fine marks sketched by myriad smiles,
Grooves carved by innumerable words and dining occasions. I fancy I can trace
The salty tracks of watery gallons, a rivulet-smoothed plane running from north to south.
Other marks are deep crevasses carved by grief: of desire denied, fissures of frustration, clear tracks of unyielding sorrow.
But a loving hand has smoothed those cracks, filled them in not with man-made substitutes, but with peace and understanding.
Yet a trace remains. A print intended to remind me, I think, of the pain and the Panacea.
So I look at human portraits and reflect upon the creator’s loving hand. A road for each of us, a path preplanned.
I will not envy when I study fresh-faced youths who have barely begun to live. And for those who would deny their existence with stitched and stretched skin and false fills, I feel a measure of pity.
For a face is a road map, a wordless book that speaks every language.
A mirror of a soul.