Mirrors at 4 A.M.
You must come to them sideways
In rooms webbed in shadow,
Sneak a view of their emptiness
Without them catching
A glimpse of you in return.
The secret is,
Even the empty bed is a burden to them,
They are more themselves keeping
The company of a blank wall,
The company of time and eternity
Which, begging your pardon,
Cast no image
As they admire themselves in the mirror,
While you stand to the side
Pulling a hanky out
To wipe your brow surreptitiously.
Charles Simic, The Voice at 3 A.M.: Selected Late
and New Poems, Harvest Books, 2006.