finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award (2017); Montaigne Medal (2017)
Self Portrait in a Drawing Class
For Amelia X.
Once again, I’ve entered into commerce with myself.
I have chosen to lift my writing hand to make these lines
express the parentheses of age forming around the unim-
portance of my mouth as if telling me all that I’ve written
holds no sway here.
I notice the slight bend in my nose
which reflects the brick wall I met one night in an alley
after too much drink had led my mouth to say those
unimportant things someone else had thought important.
But it’s the heavy lids of my eyes that surprise me.
Suddenly, I see a weight I must have been carrying
my whole life beginning to drag me down. How can I
lift this from my face? Hide it from this young woman
who takes my hand and guides it across the page showing me
the thousand words I have wanted to say to her for so long?
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