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.
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