Saturday Poem

A Game of Glass

I do not believe this room
with its cat and its chandelier,
its chessboard-tiled floor,
and its shutter that opens out
on an angel playing a fountain,
and the striped light slivering in
to a room that looks the same
in the mirror over my shoulder,
with a second glass-eyed cat.

My book does not look real,
The room and the mirror seem
to be playing a waiting game.
The cat has made its move,
the fountain has one to play,
and the thousand eyes of the angel
in the chandelier above
gleam beadily, and say
the next move is up to me.

How can I trust my luck?
Whatever way I look,
I cannot tell which is the door,
and I do not know who is who—
the thin man in the mirror,
or the watery one in the fountain.
The cat is eying my book.
What am I meant to do?
Which side is the mirror on?

by Alastair Reid
Poets Choice
Time/Life Books, 1962