Monday, November 11, 2013

The Portrait by Stanley Kunitz

The Portrait

My mother never forgave my father 
for killing himself, 
especially at such an awkward time 
and in a public park 
that spring 
when I was waiting to be born. 
She locked his name in her deepest cabinet 
and would not let him out, 
though I could hear him thumping.  
When I came down from the attic  
with the pastel portrait in my hand  
of a long-lipped stranger  
with a brave moustache  
and deep brown level eyes,  
she ripped it into shreds  
without a single word  
and slapped me hard.  
In my sixty-fourth year  
I can feel my cheek 
still burning.

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