Today's poem is by Michelle Detorie
An Overrated Virtue
Grace is our own inventionnot a mimicry
of nature as my aunt would have preferred me
to believe. Not all streams are peaceful. Clay
can be toxic. The cactus stings. These things,
when I was young, were revelations.
When my father began scraping paint
from the prehistoric wood siding at the back
of the house, my aunt came down
to mind me. The exposed eyes
staring out of that wood startled me.
In the hot sun, my father
painted those eyes shutpaint
streaking out from under the brushdrying
in the August heat. It took several coats
to cover the gaze. To shield us from
what I now knew was always there.
Meanwhile, each blade of grass
in our backyard whispered the secrets
of their former lives to mehow rivers
filled with turtles beneath a full moonhow fire
danced below. Often, in an attempt
to make sure I obeyed her, my aunt
tapped at the guest room windowthe tree tops
shaking in the shuddering glaseher two
narrow eyes peering down through the branches.
There are eyes that open
and eyes that never close.
Copyright © 2004 Michelle Detorie All rights reserved
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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