There is one kind mirror in my house.
It's in the bathroom
and I got it out of a skip when I was 19
and furnishing digs in Bristol with a mattress on the floor
and bookshelves made from planks and house bricks.
That means I have been looking in it for 43 years.
I think that might be why it is kind.
I have retained a vestigial memory of how I looked then
and it reflects that image just faintly.
It may help that it is not well lit
and I do not peer too closely.
Here I am in its first bathroom with a Bizzy Lizzy
and a reluctance even then to commit my face to close scrutiny.
A strange thing has just happened.
I looked up 'vestigial memory,' to see if it was a thing,
and came immediately upon the work of an artist
who was at college with me when I took up skip surfing.
Even more strangely he is referencing Anna Freud
who I also met aged 19 and wrote about here in 2010.
The cruellest mirrors are in department store changing rooms.
You are mercilessly exposed to every possible angle
and lit from above.
Nobody should ever be lit from above.
The cruellest one of all was in the basement of Miss Selfridge.
(I was not there willingly.)
Dazed and confused by the shattering music, the flashing lights,
sudden pools of darkness and milling shoppers,
I veered clumsily between racks of clothes
looking for the exit.
A similarly disorientated woman made her way towards me.
There was an impasse. She wasn't going to step aside.
Wretched woman I thought, as I smacked into a mirrored pillar.