My mother never forgave my father for killing himself, especially at such an awkward time and in a public park, that spring when I was waiting to be born. She locked his name in her deepest cabinet and would not let him out, though I could hear him thumping. When I came down from the attic with the pastel portrait in my hand of a long-lipped stranger with a brave moustache and deep brown level eyes, she ripped it into shreds without a single word and slapped me hard. In my sixty-fourth year I can feel my cheek still burning.
Born on July 29, 1905, Stanley Kunitz was the author of many poetry collections, as well as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Selected Poems, 1928-1958
Date Published: 1991-12-12
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/portrait