Robert Leary

(New London, Connecticut)

Confrontation With My Face


It bothered me that I could hold
My face out at arm's length,
Pivot it on one finger
And hear it make excuses for its folly.
An iron mask with class
Had been my aim, the glory
Of a painted shield, its cross
Dragging like a carcass behind.
This face, it said it was too human
And that faces in the future
Should be constructed of stronger things.
Perhaps plastic or aluminum alloy would
Enrich this instrument in its future efforts;
A celluloid coating might improve upon
The older flesh models.
Photographs of my younger plumes
Might enable science to restore my luster,
Said the face with half a face's heart.
No, I said, the fault is not all yours,
The eyes now suspended in mid-air
Are much to blame. They did not help
With their insistence on this game.
You're free to go; your homage has been paid,
My indentured parents have been lost,
The ship sails on and I'm no longer
Sure you're mine. I'll grow a beard
And carry my eyes in my hands.

Submitted: Sunday, July 01, 2012
Edited: Sunday, July 01, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

First published
Wormwood Review #25
1967

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