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  • Mj Pettengill

Looking For Your Own Face


Woman in the Mirror, CC0
Woman in the Mirror, CC0

Your face is neither infinite nor ephemeral.

You can never see your own face,

only a reflection, not the face itself.


So you sigh in front of mirrors

and cloud the surface.


It’s better to keep your breath cold.

Hold it, like a diver does in the ocean.

One slight movement, the mirror-image goes.


Don’t be dead or asleep or awake.

Don’t be anything.


What you most want,

what you travel around wishing to find,

lose yourself as lovers lose themselves,

and you’ll be that.

– Attar


(Translated by Coleman Barks, “The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia”)