At the end of the beginning
she’d watch him while he watched water
circling slow and counterclockwise
down the white sink, the silver drain.
She saw, in those slow hours watching,
that his eyes never met the mirror.
He didn’t see his reflected eyes.
But she could see all. All the same.
In another room, news was braying
evil from elsewhere. That caught her
ear for trouble. She had to try
that anywhere. That much was plain.
She scrubbed the white sink, wiping
clockwise. A reversed dome appeared
in the mirror. She saw her tired eyes,
heard his thick sleep—heavy, tamed
by wine. It wasn’t the only thing
she heard. The cold news from nowhere
echoed behind her musical sighs.
Her hope, rescue. Her escape.
She looked away—sent for silver wings.
She prayed to the clock that he’d hear
her exit. That he’d find his eyes.
That this other battle would keep her sane.
She’d be back to watch his ending,
transfixed before the dusty mirror.
The stopped clock might make him wise.
Her tears circle the sink—cool as rain.
—Mark J. Mitchell