Selfies at Age Sixty
My mother lives inside my skin
In the mirror, her smile cracks across my face, above
soft jowls that started sagging at my
fifty-eighth year, but the only way I remember her chin,
the wrinkles that frame her lips under
my skin all disappear in the wide open smile
so I smile
and smile in
A world of selfies that Mom would have eschewed.
Why do you cover your mouth, your hand
across your smile? I ask her, studying her face in the mirror,
my own peering back, hers long buried.
I look so goofy, she says across the years, as she said
long ago. My mouth is
so big. A crater on my face when I laugh.
No! I cry. Your smile is beautiful, isn’t it? Is my smile goofy?
No, she insists from beyond the grave. Not yours. Only mine.
The same, I say.
She shakes her head, her hand
Across her mouth.
I know the day in high school I saw myself laughing in the mirror
And saw my mother’s face,
covered my mouth, that smile too big. I understood
and started putting my hand over my laughter,
I catch myself laughing,
My hand gone to
My mouth like
I wear purple* and smile
Mouth wide open,
with Mom, move my hand
from my mouth
to my phone,
and all my selfies
are of both of us.
*”When I am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple,” by Jenny Joseph