Night Mirror

by Li-Young Lee


Original Language English

Li-Young, don't feel lonely
when you look up
into great night and find
yourself the far face peering
hugely out from between
a star and a star. All that space
the nighthawk plunges through,
homing, all that distance beyond embrace,
what is it but your own infinity?

And don't be afraid
when, eyes closed, you look inside you
and find night is both
the silence tolling after stars
and the final word
that founds all beginning, find night,

abyss and shuttle,
a finished cloth
frayed by the years, then gathered
in the songs and games
mothers teach their children.

Look again
and find yourself changed
and changing, now the bewildered honey
fallen into your own hands,
now the immaculate fruit born of hunger.
Now the unequaled perfume of your dying.
And time? Time is the salty wake
of your stunned entrance upon
no name.

-- from Book of My Nights, by Li-Young Lee

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Night Mirror