In Portraits in Seasons
As a feral thing would. As a dead leaf
whose crunch she herself hears, whose
buggy interior floods the sidewalk. Beamy
the world, yet a blank all the same.
Where you’ve tucked your pen into your notes,
I tuck my fingernail, burned and cursed and
shut tight my eyes. I tuck my feet up like a girl.
In this corner, warm milk fall of light something
far from revealing its bone-blank eyes, that is,
the eyes downcast in every portrait, shaded
the ribbon a bright blue furl across the gaze,
the peculiar mother, her arm around a naked toddler
the fall of light. Betrays nothing. The book in
hand, betrays. As a feral thing would,
I shred its binding and burn through it for warmth.
About this Poem
"Robert Browning's 'Wanting is—What?' came to me courtesy of Poem-A-Day with its line Beamy / the world, yet a blank all the same, its impossible completions, the gaze, beams that shine & eyes that beam, frames and lenses. Mary Cassatt's The Caress also makes an appearance here. I thought about that never-attainable completion gestured to by objects and postures in the frame, and also how vexed & wonderful to be a woman artist who deeply loves the art that came before.”
Danielle Pafunda is author of The Dead Girls Speak in Unison (Bloof Books, 2016). She teaches at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.
Date Published: 2013-05-23
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/portraits-seasons