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from the Span­ish of Jorge Luis Borges

I do not know what face returns my stare
as I lean toward the face inside the mir­ror,
nor do I know the old man lurk­ing there,
reflected back in silent, weary anger.
Slowly, in my dark­ness, with my hand,
I trace my unseen wrin­kles. Then a flash
of light breaks through; I almost glimpse a strand
of hair, tinged with gold yet dull as ash.
I tell myself again that I have lost
no more than merely super­fi­cial shows,
the same brave con­so­la­tion Mil­ton glossed;
but then I think of let­ters, or a rose.
I think if I could only see my face,
I’d know myself on this rare day of grace.

(orig­i­nally pub­lished in the Alabama Lit­er­ary Review, Vol­ume 18, Num­ber 1, Fall 2009)

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