Denise Duhamel

(1961 / Woonsocket, Rhode Island)

Crater Face


is what we called her. The story was
that her father had thrown Drano at her
which was probably true, given the way she slouched
through fifth grade, afraid of the world, recess
especially. She had acne scars
before she had acne—poxs and dips
and bright red patches.
I don't remember
any report in the papers. I don't remember
my father telling me her father had gone to jail.
I never looked close to see the particulars
of Crater Face's scars. She was a blur, a cartoon
melting. Then, when she healed—her face,
a million pebbles set in cement.
Even Comet Boy,
who got his name by being so abrasive,
who made fun of everyone, didn't make fun
of her. She walked over the bridge
with the one other white girl who lived
in her neighborhood. Smoke curled
like Slinkies from the factory stacks
above them.
I liked to imagine that Crater Face
went straight home, like I did, to watch Shirley Temple
on channel 56. I liked to imagine that she slipped
into the screen, bumping Shirley with her hip
so that child actress slid out of frame, into the tubes
and wires that made the TV sputter when I turned it on.
Sometimes when I watched, I'd see Crater Face
tap-dancing with tall black men whose eyes
looked shiny, like the whites of hard-boiled eggs.
I'd try to imagine that her block was full
of friendly folk, with a lighthouse or goats
running in the street.
It was my way of praying,
my way of un-imagining the Drano pellets
that must have smacked against her
like a round of mini-bullets,
her whole face as vulnerable as a tongue
wrapped in sizzling pizza cheese.
How she'd come home with homework,
the weight of her books bending her into a wilting plant.
How her father called her slut, bitch, big baby, slob.
The hospital where she was forced to say it was an accident.
Her face palpable as something glowing in a Petri dish.
The bandages over her eyes.
In black and white,
with all that make-up, Crater Face almost looked pretty
sure her MGM father was coming back soon from the war,
seeing whole zoos in her thin orphanage soup.
She looked happiest when she was filmed
from the back, sprinting into the future,
fading into tiny gray dots on UHF.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Friday, December 23, 2011

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: father, fun, remember, baby, running, home, future, girl, sometimes, war, child, red, children, dance

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Crater Face by Denise Duhamel )

Enter the verification code :

  • Tired of Being Exploited (5/30/2007 7:51:00 AM)

    I don't really have the right to comment on this piece it's just so great! Ms. Duhamel very effectively gives Crater Face a persona and makes us sympathize with her and yet avoids sentimentality entirely. Brilliant and surreal. Just great, damn! (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Truth is in south, gajanan mishra
  2. Student, Paul Sebastian
  3. "While drifting away..." / Bla.., Jeff Gangwer
  4. Teacher, Paul Sebastian
  5. A Wrenched Knee, Jeff Gangwer
  6. Leader, Paul Sebastian
  7. Gin Again, Harold R Hunt Sr
  8. Teardrops for flowers flow, Harold R Hunt Sr
  9. The witches teaparty, Harold R Hunt Sr
  10. The walking moon, Harold R Hunt Sr

Poem of the Day

poet Edward Thomas

Like the touch of rain she was
On a man's flesh and hair and eyes
When the joy of walking thus
Has taken him by surprise:

With the love of the storm he burns,
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  7. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. No Man Is An Island, John Donne

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]