Once upon a time there were two oval mirrors
which hung facing each other
on the walls of a local barbershop
in the middle of a kingdom, we should add,
which ran the length of a valley
lined with the molars of high mountains.
It's hard to say how the mirrors felt
about all the faces peering into them,
the unshorn, the clean-cut, and the bald,
for mirrors cannot help doubling
whatever stands or passes in front of them,
including the perfumed heads of customers.
And when business was slow
the mirrors would see the barbers themselves
glancing in to a run a comb quickly through their hair.
Every day except Sunday the mirrors
received the rounded heads
and gave back the news, good or bad.
And the reward for their patience
arrived by night in the empty shop
when they could look down the long
corridors of each other—
one looking at the dead mirrors of the past
the other looking into the unborn mirrors of the future,
which means that the barber shop
must symbolize the present, in case anyone asks you—
the present with its razors, towels, and chairs,
its green awning withdrawn,
its big window and motionless pole,
and the two mirrors who lived unhappily ever after.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.