A Rival

Sometimes, when I watch you through the glass,
fixing your make-up, or twisting your hair in a plait,
I catch a passing glimpse of someone new,
someone I might have loved had we ever met
and, now that we’ve come this far, I must admit
that, given the choice, I’d rather her than you:
this inward self a camera might steal,
the soul that shatters when a mirror breaks
and, so they say, takes seven years to heal.
Sometimes I think if she and I were free,
she’d tell me secrets you could never share;
though, now I come to think of it, I swear
I’ve caught her giving you such private looks
as lovers do, when no one else can see
and then I’ve turned away, for all our sakes,
because it’s clear she’d rather you than me.

From All One Breath. Reproduced with kind permission from Cape Poetry.