Thursday, June 13, 2013

Elizabeth Carlson: "Imperfection"













I am falling in love
      with my imperfections
The way I never get the sink really clean,
forget to check my oil,
lose my car in parking lots,
miss appointments I have written down,
am just a little late.
I am learning to love
      the small bumps on my face
      the big bump of my nose,
      my hairless scalp,
chipped nail polish,
toes that overlap.
Learning to love
      the open-ended mystery
            of not knowing why
I am learning to fail
      to make lists,
      use my time wisely,
      read the books I should.
Instead I practice inconsistency,
      irrationality, forgetfulness.
Probably I should
hang my clothes neatly in the closet
all the shirts together, then the pants,
send Christmas cards, or better yet
a letter telling of
      my perfect family.
But I'd rather waste time
listening to the rain,
or lying underneath my cat
     learning to purr.
I used to fill every moment
     with something I could
          cross off later.
Perfect was
     the laundry done and folded
     all my papers graded
     the whole truth and nothing      but
Now the empty mind is what I seek
      the formless shape
      the strange      off center
      sometimes fictional
                                 me.



"Imperfection" by Elizabeth Carlson, from Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach, edited by Sam M. Intrator, et al. © Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Image credit: Unknown (originally color).


 

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