Maybe Narcissus wasn’t looking at his reflection
but at a rock beneath the water’s surface
tossing like a clean sheet over an unmade bed.
Maybe he leaned too far, not because he
found his eyes entrancing, but to see whether
the rock was something valuable, or just mud
clumped up, a fist clenched in the wet.
Or maybe he was in love, and with himself:
maybe in that moment he could see
a man who wasn’t quite as bad as he had thought,
someone who wasn’t a god, terrible or fortune,
a mere mortal, as it’s termed. Maybe he
looked, and saw he was not bad as he’d thought,
but human; maybe he found the universe
within him that’s within us all, and leaned
only to see it better through the tiny windows
of his pupils. The water evaded him, so he
bent down closer, till he fell, as we all know.
What we don’t know is his own reasons why.