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Self-Portrait Analysis

Author: poem of Linda Pastan Type: poem Views: 22

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After Adam Zagajewski

I am child to no one, mother to a few,

wife for the long haul.

On fall days I am happy

with my dying brethren, the leaves,

but in spring my head aches

from the flowery scents.

My husband fills a room with Mozart

which I turn off, embracing

the silence as if it were an empty page

waiting for me alone to fill it.

He digs in the black earth

with his bare hands. I scrub it

from the creases of his skin, longing

for the kind of perfection

that happens in books.

My house is my only heaven.

A red dog sleeps at my feet, dreaming

of the manic wings of flushed birds.

As the road shortens ahead of me

I look over my shoulder

to where it curves back

to childhood, its white line

bisecting the real and the imagined

the way the ridgepole of the spine

divides the two parts of the body, leaving

the soft belly in the center

vulnerable to anything.

As for my country, it blunders along

as well intentioned as Eve choosing

cider and windfalls, oblivious

to the famine soon to come.

I stir pots, bury my face in books, or hold

a telephone to my ear as if its cord

were the umbilicus of the world

whose voices still whisper to me

even after they have left their bodies.


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