The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Lynne Knight

Objects in Mirror Appear Closer Than They Are


In the mirrored halls of the palace
where the king admired his grandeur
& the queen smiled over her beauty,
no one had any idea that objects
seen in a mirror are closer
than they appear. So the lines
around the queen’s eyes, the thinning
of the king’s hair—age, in other words;
death, in other words—seemed remote
as the hares in the woods that hounds
would race after with their throaty yelps.

So now, when visitors stand imagining
themselves the king or queen,
some of them reflecting on the brevity
of life; some longing for the jeweled gowns
or crown, the furred robes, for flattery
reliable as the sun & moon & stars;
some scornful of the excess, the total lack
of concern for the less fortunate—
even now, no one sees how close
death is, the shadow at the neck
of everyone, black as a mirror’s back.




LYNNE KNIGHT's poetry collections have won prizes from The Quarterly Review of Literature, Bear Star Press, The Sow’s Ear Review, Two Rivers Review, The Ledge, and Sixteen Rivers Press. Her fifth collection, The Persistence of Longing, appeared from Terrapin Books in July of 2016. Other honors include the Rattle Poetry Prize, a Poetry Society of America award, a Prix de l'Alliance Française aux Etats-Unis award, and an NEA fellowship in poetry.



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