Hallway Mirror by John Grochalski

the hallway mirror
in the foyer of my building sees everything

it has seen me walking down the hall for ten years
marking my stupid cadence

it has seen me fat
it has seen me grow thin
then fat again

i have become a gray and old man in front of it
balancing groceries and the weight of existence

it has witnessed my excesses
it knows all the bad take-out food that i eat
it has seen me stumbling drunk
it has seen my hangovers

it has seen me racing to the door to take a shit
and coming home from a job half-dead

the hallway mirror
has caught me crawling home sick

it saw me bring my wife back
from three cancer surgeries
in a year we’d all like to forget

couples stop to admire themselves in the mirror

young couples so deep in love
they take selfies of themselves
because they can’t help it

little kids like to look at themselves in the mirror
they scream and yell and pound toys on it

and the women in this building play fashion show
in front of the mirror

they prance and strut like models in front of it

sometimes i open up and catch them
then wonder what in the hell else
goes on behind my door

once i saw the post-man twirling in front of the mirror
basking in his well-suited reflection

even i’m guilty of checking myself out

the hallway mirror
has caught me at my lowest

in the midst of obsessive compulsive disorder
unable to believe that the oven is off
and the windows are closed

unable to believe that the door is locked

tugging and pulling on it
getting sweaty with anxiety
begging for sweet release

getting so angry and scared
that sometimes i turn in the midst of a crisis
to look at the hallway mirror

not even recognizing my own face in it
staring back at me in abject fear

to shout
what are you looking at
you dumb motherfucker?

John Grochalski 3
John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

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