Polarity of White

by George Thomas

From our reflecting pool
the pious will glean
his atheist,
a republican
his democrat,
Her tyrant.
In this same mirror
a ripple lies between our
mutually opposed others,
revealing superficiality
and mere distortions
between our faces,
the color of our sleeves.

As a boy, my reflection
restored the glory
of the Roman Empire,
watching reruns of
Hannibal’s defeat
in the Colosseum,
clanging clay action figures
made in the likenesses
of gladiators.
I squirted ketchup
on the dead ones
before outgrowing the sandbox,
before realizing such toys
had been carved out of slaves.

Later, my reflection wished
to restore the glory
of the British Empire.
He thought the Sun only rose
where the crown shone,
and if it wasn’t for sailing
the horn of Africa, there’d be
no such thing as India Pale Ale.
Besides, he was taught
you’re not a real man
until you shoot an elephant.

Now, I witness my reflection
restore the glory of
the German Empire,
Tibetan peace signs and
Polynesian patio décor.
He lost two fights until
a new furor awakened him.
And nothing beats
a cloudy day like
a long walk into
a more colorful Poland.

I cannot undo his existence,
not because I allow it
to thrive—

because I am the cause
of our polarity.