Looking through Plath’s Mirror
Kevin McDaniel

  I am not cruel, only truthful—
  The eye of a little god, four-cornered.

   – Sylvia Plath, “Mirror”

I don’t see
a forgiving god,
but a reflection
of the man
I was back then
with hairs not retreating
to the bathroom sink,
a flushing face
without dark circles
or the birth
of crow’s feet.
I look slender
from a side profile
in blue jeans sucking in
a trimmer gut.

I see
this former self
and swallowing hard
in view
of the mirror’s
soothsaying attempts.
Wide eyes gaze back
like a thrashing river bass
whose lip is speared
by a barbed hook.
It’s the catch
cast for and lie
about the most
or terribly forget.

Kevin J. McDaniel lives in Pulaski, Virginia, with his wife, two daughters, and two chocolate Labs. In recent years, he has taught University Core at Radford University and English composition at New River Community College. To date, his poems have appeared in The Sacred Cow, Lavender Wolves Literary Journal, Axe Factory Press, The Bluestone Review, Clinch Mountain Review, JuxtaProse, Common Ground Review, The Cape Rock, and Broad River Review. In addition, he was a finalist for Broad River Review ’s Rash Award for poetry and a semi-finalist in Heartwood Literary Magazine’s annual Broadside Contest, which was judged by poet Diane Gilliam, in 2016. His poetry chapbook, Family Talks (Finishing Line Press), is set for publication in 2017.