Poem by Lucy Ives
This isn’t a great poem.
I’m not writing this to write a great poem.
I am writing this because I am one person.
I am only one.
I have a face and a front of my face.
I have two shoulders and two hips.
So what can I do with my face if it can’t see that person’s face?
What do I tell my eyes to see?
How do I let them know that when they see that face it is that person’s wish that they not know it?
How do I tell them we have to go back into the world where no one knows us and we don’t know anyone?
How do I tell them to stay there?
There is nothing for them to see.
How do I tell my hands they will never touch that person’s hands?
How do I tell my ears that when that person says my name it is only a word?
How do I tell my lips to make that person’s name another word so I can say it?
How do I tell my neck that person cannot see it?
How do I tell my hair that person cannot pull it?
It is my hair.
It is my head.
How do I tell my teeth they will never strike that person’s teeth?
How do I tell my thighs it does not matter what they do?
They are the tops of my legs.
They will fall apart.
How do I tell my back it must never wait for that person?
That person will not hold me.
That person does not know where I am, does not think of me.
Does not know I have exhausted every argument against him.
That person does not know I no longer love freedom.
That person does not know what it means when I ask for forgiveness.
That person does not know I beg the world to let me change.
That person cannot see my face.
Knows a woman with my name and she is a woman.
Does not know the word I hide behind my words.
Does not know this face.
Does not know this is my face.
Says my name and looks at this person.
How do I tell my feet to stand here?
How do I tell my eyes to see?
How do I tell the voice under my voice to keep on speaking?
How do I tell my mouth to speak?
© 2015 Lucy Ives. Today’s poem originally appeared on the Poetry Foundation’s website as part of PoetryNow, a partnership between WFMT Radio Network and the Poetry Foundation. You can listen to an audio recitation of “Poem” by Lucy Ives here.
Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at email@example.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.