Mirrors Never Lie

By Peter Halstead

On a photo by Yann-Arthus Bertrand

An island floating in a lake
Is repeated with its cloudy sky
By sandwiches reflections make
As the camera slides by,

Leafless sticks of lodgepole pines
Fading endlessly to blue,
Their doubled, almost painted lines
Merging, as trompe-l’oeils do,

Like a Wyeth watercolor
With no apparent gap between
Which is brighter, which is duller,
Which is hidden, which is seen,

But blending equally in the lens,
It’s hard to tell which half is fluff
And which the world intends,
If the world is enough

To dictate what is bona fide
In this ambidextrous sheen
That reverberates from either side
No matter which is just a screen,

The airy world brought down to earth
By the shifting sands of sight,
Where true and false get equal berth
And wrong is similar to right,

Except a clump of drifting leaves,
Riding simply on a cloud,
The only clue the puzzle leaves,
As only Rorschach copies are allowed

And the only way to stay unique
Is to ride the surface of the mirror,
As do all of us who seek
To be, by touching, even clearer.