Dana Wildsmith

Male Pattern Blindness

Being of a certain age,

she stares at her wrinkles first

in any mirror

as if to watch them is to stop them,

then checks to see

if the skin she believes in

still lies tight over bone

like one more day of sound ice

between her drifting ship and the shore.

Being a woman, her mirrors tell truth

to its future degree,

but the mirrors of men

stay fogged with mens’ younger selves.

Men see WAS in their mirrors,

not IS or WILL BE.

Believe it or not

this is the kindest blindness

because it extends to us.

Deep in the vast dark irises

of the eyes of men

who have loved us longest

we women keep a radiant space,

like stars.

Year on year,

our men perceive no change in lovely us:

their way home,

their unalterable sky.