What Good Is a Castle?

by Linda Susan Jackson

after Joe Bataan

In the mirror, I’m no longer there,
But the someone who is looks at me

As though surprised that I show up
Every morning. What else is there to do?

I’ve become my own curio, a daily novelty,
Trying to work magic with foundation,

Blush brush and lipstick which yields no
Promise, so when the image turns away,

It takes apart my voice. No matter.
No one ever listens when I speak.

Stunned by the ticking clock, I stare back
In the mirror. All the markers are gone.

I am what was both bounty and beauty,
Added value to the trinity for young skin:

Possession, performance, profit!
There’s no running from it. Once

My beauty could choke the scarlet
Off a rose, almost predict the edge

Of the world, make music out of what happened
Although everything changes with the playing,

Worrying the line to dust. I’m in time’s geography,
So what’s left of its shifting melody, a breath, a road,

A glance, a new ache? Outside, everything
Smells of week-old grease, even the clouds.

Published on September 10, 2015