Reflection by Shanti Weiland

Once there was a girl born
with mirrored eyes. As a
baby, they shined in the dark
nursery, as a cat’s, when
her mother approached
for feeding time.

As she grew, a placid smile found
its way to her lovely face, and all
who looked at it saw
themselves. Young girls
preened. Old men knew

It started with little things.
Knowing their flaws,
their inconsistencies—every white
lie they thought was “for the best”
until they couldn’t stand
to look at themselves. Enraged
with her fixed, sweet smile, they glanced
away as they approached her, bathing
alone in the river.

They had imagined
the swiftness and the crisp
sound it would make. The shatter
of glass and the fragile
shards, shimmering downstream.
She had lived alone
for so long.

But when she turned, they saw.
The mirrors were gone,
she had already
unburdened herself.
They peered into
the sunken holes where
their lives had once been.
Two bright beams
shined back. She could see
them now the way
they never would.

She rose from the bank.

ShantiWeilandPhotoShanti Weiland’s Sister Nun was the 2015 winner of the Negative Capability Press Book Contest. She currently teaches writing and literature at the University of Alabama; authors the blog, The Poets That You Meet; and lives in Birmingham with her wife and pets. You can find her at


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