I thought of this one on the treadmill. Our family treadmill is aimed directly at a wall. I was running on it recently and spent twenty minutes staring at my shadow. My shadow looked a lot more capable and athletic while it was running than I felt while I was.

It got me thinking about self image and how the way we want to view ourselves often doesn't match up with who we actually are. Some lines starting coming together in my head, I gave them a medieval fantasy twist, and we wound up with a poem.

I much prefer my shadow,

To the face in my polished mirror.

The shape of a bold and better man,

Instead of the visage staring here.

My shadow stands an outline,

Of all I might have been.

Tall and strong with shoulders broad.

A hero looming among men.

Not a king weighed down by guilt,

Of lost hopes and failed ambitions.

Not a villain born in the wake,

Of misspent words and cruel decisions.

My shadow recounts who could have been,

Instead of who I am.

I’m but a shadow of my shadow.

Forever cursed in a life I’ve damned.