I Inspect
My Face
Sometimes after I am done
crying, dried up as a breast of milk,
I will make myself cry again,
just to watch how it works.
the cheeks pulling closer
to the ears for comfort, the chin
growing a hundred years old.
I think of my mother, when she will live
without my father and his
grown-soft ways, or the woman
and her baby smashed under a school bus
by a sleepy truck driver. Mostly, though,
I think about myself, the tumors lurking
in my nodes, or the men I have loved
tossing me aside. The best part: spill.
My blue-iris-eyes alone with color,
clear wet nubs rising to drop perfectly
over the rim and develop their slow,
pleasing flow. In these moments,
I love myself. I know nothing
else to comfort my body but my
body. It helps to turn the face
and examine acne: that one
spot reddened with trouble,
my fingers smoothing over
the small valleys and knolls, waiting
like the rest of my skin
for something to happen.

--- Jagged with Love
Susanna Childress
©2005, University of Wisconsin Press

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