Eileen R. Tabios: in response to Melinda Luisa de Jesus

In Melinda’s Mirror

I see Mom
Looking at

Looking at Mom
Not seeing

Author's Note:
"In Melinda's Mirror" is written as a deliberately-failed “Rippled Mirror Hay(na)ku." This form is supposed to be comprised of two stanzas: the basic hay(na)ku tercet followed by a reverse hay(na)ku tercet and where the second tercet’s narrative almost mirrors the first tercet’s. The poem fails in this form in that the second tercet does not reverse the first (because of "Not" in "Not seeing"). I thought that the failure in form to be apt to "mirror" how the referenced reflection fails: the persona looking into the mirror sees, instead of her reflection, someone else ("Mom").

The background to this hay(na)ku is explained in my essay about Melinda Luisa de Jesus' mirrored sculptures.


Eileen R. Tabios has released over 50 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her books include a form-based “Selected Poems” series, The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019, THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL: Selected Visual Poetry (2001-2019), INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New 1996-2015, and THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New 1998-2010. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku poetic form as well as a first poetry book, BEYOND LIFE SENTENCES (1998), which received the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry. Translated into nine languages, she also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays, as well as exhibited visual art in the United States, Asia and Serbia. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.com