You’re trying to reattach your car’s side mirror
but your ungloved fingers can’t remove
the protective strip from the two-sided tape,
and the mid-morning sun angles into your eyes
as you try to align and fasten the plastic clips.
You’re floundering in flashes of light and dark,
so after a few minutes you scoot inside
because January’s cold, and ask your wife for help,
embarrassed you can’t do even this simple task.
She peers over her glasses, studies the tape,
then returns it unstuck, separated,
and you tromp back out to the car.
Up the block you see the grown son
of the red-haired woman who, your wife heard
from the Greek grandmother across the street,
died last week. He’s in a black overcoat,
standing in a crowd of cars in the driveway.
He went to school with your son.
Didn’t he used to like video games?
He came into your house once or twice.
He watches you bend and futz
with a last bit of tape before you stick it
on the exterior—appearances be damned!
You wonder if grief is making this blip of image
acute for him, how years from now he might
recall that his classmate’s father fixed a mirror
while he was waiting for his uncle
to come outside for the slow drive to the wake.
And you’re glad that you didn’t swear
too loudly about your little tussle….
She couldn’t have been much older than you.
You are suddenly so full of not-knowing
you can hardly stand. In the reattached mirror
etched with silver letters, Objects in mirror…
you watch him take brief, directionless steps,
in the small, rectangular, reflected world.
J.D. Scrimgeour’s bilingual poetry collection, 香蕉面包 Banana Bread, was published in 2021. He is the author of five collections of poetry and two of nonfiction, including Themes for English B, which won the AWP Award for nonfiction.