Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Portrait by Stanley Kunitz

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.

1 comment:

Don Stabler said...

this one of the best Kunitz I've come across. I have a book of collected poems. I go to it frequently. great entry. Donnie