beware: do not read this poem

tonite, thriller was
abt an ol woman, so vain she
surrounded her self w /
many mirrors

it got so bad that finally she
locked herself indoors & her
whole life became the

one day the villagers broke
into her house , but she was too
swift for them . she disappeared
   into a mirror

each tenant who bought the house
after that, lost a loved one to
   the ol woman in the mirror :
   first a little girl
   then a young woman
   then the young woman /s husband

the hunger of this poem is legendary
it has taken in many victims
   back off from this poem
   it has drawn in yr feet
   back off from this poem
   it has drawn in yr legs
   back off from this poem
   it is a greedy mirror
   you are into this poem . from
   the waist down
   nobody can hear you can they ?
   this poem has had you up to here
   this poem aint got no manners
   you cant call out frm this poem
   relax now & go w/ this poem
   move & roll on to this poem

   do not resist this poem
   this poem has yr eyes
   this poem has his head
   this poem has his arms
   this poem has his fingers
   this poem has his fingertips

   this poem is the reader & the
   reader this poem

statistic: the us bureau of missing persons reports
   that in 1968 over 100,000 people disappeared
   leaving no solid clues
      nor trace   only
   a space   in the lives of their friends

Ishmael Reed
from Conjure: Selected Poems 1963-1970, 1972