The Green Mirror

by Runatyr
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place, September 2020
Judged by Ron Singer

Miranda planted herself by the window
as a little light left her face—
more than one might expect
from a setting sun

and by Halloween she glowered
at the walls, more macabre than
the ghost hung over the doors
of the garage.

That winter brought with it
an unbearable pall, a cold cover,
a dearth of words from a girl
rooted at a sill,

wan face more enervated
than the final, feeble
wobbles of a crack-free egg.

One day in cruel April,
her mother invaded the sanctity
of her sepulchre, smiling like
a fool—

she brought Miranda a flaccid,
suffocating thing of drooping
green shoots and soft, wide
leaves, their sheen lost.

African violet, her mother
imparted. Nearly gone. Thought
she’d try the window in Miranda’s
room, she lied.

Miranda let it sit
but she stared at it for hours
and the more she stared, the more
she saw.

In the morning she Googled
“care for African violets,”
and by the end of the day,
she had named her plant Eva.

This poem skillfully navigates its way through its potentially maudlin subject, the possible redemption of a mentally ill girl. With just enough mystery about what is going on, the poem builds to its climax. In the last stanza, the redemption is kept from being saccharine by a reference to the Internet: “…she Googled/’care for African violets.’” In its vivid description of the flower as “a flaccid, suffocating thing,” which suggests the girl, “The Green Mirror” reminds me of Keats’ “Isabella, or The Pot of Basil.” --Ron Singer