Hedy Habra

Stepping into Mirrors

                          Jylian Gustlin

                         Jylian Gustlin


Stepping into mirrors is diving in deep sea.

Would the sea withhold the memory of sunken

bodies, bodies of migrants hoping to reach the shore?


Would mirrors remember familiar faces first

thing in the morning, the startled look before

the reassuring makeup, the daily questioning?


Would mirrors record the roundness of breasts

and their gradual falling, observe how curves

rouse when rubbed with scented essential oils?


Would mirrors bring to life my mother’s early

ritual, features clouded by Coty’s Muguet des Bois

fluffy puff, carefully outlining lips and eyebrows?


Would shards of shattered mirrors stamp severed

limbs, blood-soaked shirts, dust-covered skin, serve as

fingerprints for not turning the page, or swerve after cleanup?


Would the reflection subside forever, leave an

imprint outside of our own mind, coded messages

for us to retrieve from the other side of the mirror?


Would the sea withhold the memory of sunken bodies,

bodies of migrants hoping against odds to reach the shore? 

Stepping into mirrors is diving in deep sea. 

Or Do We Ever Learn to Find the Key to Our Own Scribbling?


We jot down sparse lines to forget words spewed out like fire breathing

plumes, try to erase our trails, kneel down, wiping each footstep with long

feathers as we move forward. By erasing shadows so well, we no longer

recognize our own, and watch how signs run as rivers branching out in

streams, echoed here and there throughout the pages.


Like a gold digger following veins embedded as threads within quartz rock

or disseminated in silicified limestone we scan our lives, turn the hour hand

to unearth leitmotivs, dilating encounters steeped in blue, frozen within a

cave or a basement, a mansard or an attic hoarding our dreams. Bent over

our own reflection, we crawl like infants to find the crumbs left at our


Hall of Mirrors


First, there’s the mirror of memory: you only need

to refuel it with lies and illusions, project it onto a

screen, winding up sequences of animated scenes at will.


In the dormant well of memory

              you seek yourself and lose yourself,


sit for hours on the polished lip of the well as you

meditate over your lengthening shadow, perform a

makeover of the mind to erase the ravages of time:


a touch of blush over cheekbones blurs gravity lines,

tilts features upwards, and if this fails, a few hours

of sleep should put a glimmer in the eyes, redress


 drooping eyelids, avoid the unsightly X-rays of your mortality.


Then comes the mirror of forgetfulness: swallowing bit

by bit your selective memory, stretching time and space,

a fluid mirror clouded with ripples, rippling memories


the elusive mirror in which

               you drown night after night


searching for answers to the same questions. You

wish to turn nightmares into Paradise, sleep paralysis

overcomes you as past and future merge on their own


terms, choose their own colors, glide in swift motion,

deafening rhythmic steps  resound in premonition,

emerge erratically from the recesses of your mind,


inaudible tunes fall, scatter like the last leaves of autumn.


Hedy Habra has authored two poetry collections, Under Brushstrokes, finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Book Award, and Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the USA Best Book Award and finalist for the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American National Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Awards, she was eight-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her work appears in Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Drunken Boat, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and Verse Daily. Her website is hedyhabra.com