Friday, March 29, 2013

Self-Portrait at 44


When I was seven years old
I was sure I was going blind.
I sat on the floor of the bedroom
and stared down the calico pattern on the bedspread
until the little yellow flowers buzzed
into apple red background blurriness.
A stuffed duck dissolved into a furry moon.
The curtains, unsuccessful in their ruffles,
disappeared into the light of outside.

I never told my mother.
How could I harpoon her heart?
“My youngest daughter can’t see.”

Focus and unfocus,
it’s a trick I’ve played through the years.
I still don’t know what I want.
Sometimes I can’t see the beauty in my own neighborhood –
the two workmen on top of the roof across the street
who stretch out, smoke, and laugh into the clouds they make,
or the little girl who tears apart  hydrangeas for confetti.

Command plus plus the view,
take up wearing glasses. See?

Sometimes I’m happy but music pushes me into a lump of tears
and then the song ends and the DJ comes on
with the little jingle that announces the station 
and I feel foolish because the whole day was there all along.
That’s what I want.

3 comments:

Andrea McGuigan said...

Jenny, this is beautiful. The "Focus, unfocus" is a lovely hinge which opens the door to the rest of the poem. That last stanza was an oof to the heart. I also selfishly love this poem because you wrote me a birthday poem on my golden birthday, when I turned 20 on the 20th, called 20/20, whichdealt with directs of vision and focus, too. <3

jen revved said...

You are wonderful. I am considering Naissance. Good experience for you? xj

Mike Lindgren said...

It's an amazing poem! I love it! May I repost it on my National Poetry Month-oriented blog?