In collaboration, Milt Friedly responded to Scott Cairn’s poem, “Late Reflection”
with his work, “The Enigmatic Self”. Cairn’s posed the big question, “What am I doing
here?” His work, “Late Reflection” is layered with imagery of self-examination using the
hand and mirror as metaphor.
How very like a mirror the hand
held spread before the face, how nearly
like a mask. I’d thought I might attend
that very hand, and by so doing
front the latent image of a self
akin, for instance, to likeness
of the One whose famed, allegéd
Trinity obtains without confusion
(that’s the story) even if, just now,
we’re all I’d say sufficiently confused.
The morning brought along its now
familiar truck of dim accoutrement,
and still the expectations flourished quite
beyond what had until that moment
come to pass for sense. The mirror
(that same spread hand?) proved first to grouse.
Our slow (which is to say, our tedious)
interrogation has so far led
to very little, frankly, save
a common recapitulation
of a chronic ache. To what degree,
one wonders, might a given hand
partake in shaping what has yet
to come? Supposing one survives
the present tensions, how might one
account for how the future finds
its face, and its unwieldy shape?
The evidence alone is not
compelling of a hopeful
disposition. Still, one tends
to lean ahead, regardless, asking Who
am I now? What am I doing here?
What—do you suppose—will I become?
with permission of the poet