The Right Angle

He checks himself out in the dusty mirror

beneath the low-watt bulb in the entrance hall.

Not bad, he says, and lightly touches

his hair with the tips of his fingers.

Then standing at the bus stop, feet in the slushy snow,

he turns for the view in a shop window.

Not bad, he says, finding the right angle,

and he straightens his tie.

The bus is crowded as always, and stale 

with its history of flatulence and sweat.

It takes him to an office where those who attend his days

attach and remove paperclips from duplicate forms.

But every now and again, after micturition,

he looks up from the soap-scummed sink to a small glass.

How grateful he is for this occasional reminder

in a world so entirely as it otherwise is.

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