after Faith Ringgold's Woman looking in a Mirror
Artist: Faith Ringgold
b. Oct 8, 1930 New York, New York
Title: American People Series #16: Woman Looking in a Mirror
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The world was already here
Serene in its otherness.
It only took you to arrive
On the late afternoon train
To where no one awaited you.
– Charles Simic
all at once she appears
walled into her dangers
listening to what doesn’t answer
signing her name on the whole wide world
letting go nothing
feeling like nothing inside her
sometimes she’s fenced into stone
silent dried up gray
as her youth reveals a garden of mirrors
Without effort she sits perfectly still
on raging roots
which rise like a colorless bird
out of a black and white photo.
If only I had known
her heart would be a landscape of weeds
I would have stayed longer.
I would have dreamed
with my mouth wide open
and did all that has not begun.
If only I had known what has left already
I would have waited,
would’ve sustained her tall spirit of black dust
kissed her nose
and lingered for her love
which blossoms in such serene solitude.