He loved me when the mirror didn’t
When the light hated me too.
Every time I washed my hands
Or brushed my teeth,
the reflection despised my face.
I didn’t bother to turn on the light.  
I felt less than worthy of a frame.
And shame 
consumed my mind.
With every coverup, pill, or special soap, hope
stopped showing up.
My pillow and my friends received my tears,  
seeing through my marred skin.
It didn’t matter their kind words,
I didn’t love within. 

Finally, a breakthrough day,
Hope resurfaced with clear delight. 
Not with smooth skin, 
but with scarred hands
He turned on the Light. 
He showed me all my little marks 
and called me wonderful. 
He loved me when the mirror didn’t...

But 30 years sooner, 
The mirror reclaims her place
She’s back with broken skin and collagen
Grooves tracing laughter lines and surprise
Picking on me again, with other insults. 
The words don’t stay as long. They don’t cut as deep, 
I know I am loved much more than
any lie she slings. 
He loves me, even when the mirror doesn’t. 

JL McCarthy


JL McCarthy

January 13, 2020