That we know ourselves by what we say and do is obvious.
Or in the way we lay a table, chop an apple, hang clothes or not
before we sleep
And it's obvious, too, that such knowledge must include:
the birthmark on an inner thigh, mouse-shaped, small;
a jagged lifeline on a left hand, fingerprints, the iris pattern of an eye.
Or in the way one scuffed shoe slants to nothing at the heel;
and in the exact marks of our feet before waves slur the sand.
These are ways we seem fixed. But what about the self
in a photograph?
The one we look at, intermittently, across our lives;
a shy child in a new pair of dungarees, now faded,
not looking at the camera or a life ahead;
someone we would never recognise as us,
though that's precisely who it is.
And who is that always leaves a drawer half-opened,
tilting down to show off what's inside:
a matted brush, blunt scissors, rusted key,
to tell about another self - someone, today,
we can't remember ever was?
And who is it that looks in mirrors over years?
Like the familiar person in a dream - the one you cannot name -
who does the things you would and who, like you shuffles by the sea,
stares back, smiles all the same. Then slips. effortlessly,
into, not obviously, a stranger,
but simply someone else?