Acknowledging Jorge Luis (Borges)
One day the least of the poets, and he was least because the powers of the world valued other voices, realized that this would be his day. He knew his day had come when he saw parts of him dematerialize in the mirror. First, as he lay there in his bed scrunched up in the corner, staring at the mirror, the lower half of his jaw disappeared, and made him look like someone had taken scissors to a photo and had cut off the bottom of his face which now looked as flat as a table.
He knew he must hurry if he was to safeguard the memories he would take with him because he was sure those remembrances would become people and shape the character of his next life.
Before he completed those thoughts, he turned back to the mirror and saw one of his legs was gone.
He immediately thought of sunny days and warm sand and wooden piers that snaked out into water before the world valued his words so little that he became small and retreated into dark cellars, away from the daily markets, shunned for his words, away from the people.
In his next life, he didn’t want to be small again. He had learned what he needed to experience. In his next life, he wanted to be friends with sunny people and to live in warm lands with sand and sails and to experience value for his voice.
When he reached towards the books scattered under his bed, he did so with purpose, hoping to find Cervantes because in his next life he wanted to imagine great things.
But he knew time was running away from him. Now, his other leg, when he dared to cast his eyes on the mirror, was gone. Soon, he would be no more. Like this country, he thought, Pakistan, caught between the great powers, about to be dismembered by dark deception and cunning, the Great Silk Road the prize and access to the markets of the East.
Quickly he gathered himself, prepared now for the journey, as he watched the remainder of his body become molecules and atoms floating away into the mirror at the end of his bed and to better days.
~ Stephen J. Bergstrom
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