Seeing My Mother by Barbara Brooks

I avoid looking at myself in photos and mirrors. As I grew up, the mirror on top of the dresser greeted me every morning. In an early photo, I have a gap-toothed grin, my left ear sticks out from under my riding helmet. I hold the trophy out in front of me. In high school, I saw someone who wanted to fit in, I wore a paisley shirt (big at the time, knee socks weren’t) to the dance. I like myself best in the photo of me and my horse sailing over the jump, hands and arms in line with the bit, heels down, toes forward. The latest picture shows me hopping over the log, hands grabbing mane and toes sticking out. When last at home, waking to a morning of cleaning closets of the clothes that my mother would no longer wear, I sat on the edge of the bed, stared back at myself, lines around the eyes, longish face, left ear sticking out. These days, I try not to see myself in the mirror that came with the house but sometimes catch a glimpse of my second self when walking by. I look at my reflection before brushing my teeth, I see myself becoming my mother.

Barbara Brooks, author of The Catbird Sang and A Shell to Return to the Sea chapbooks, is a member of Poet Fools.  Her work has been accepted in Avalon Literary Review, Chagrin River Review, The Foundling Review, Blue Lake Review, Third Wednesday, Peregrine, Tar River Poetry among others.