Self Portrait With Fruit & Implement by Sara Balsom

Self Portrait With Fruit & Implement

Some things I have I wish I didn’t,
silver plates, soft oranges, birds inert and patient,
the blue dress that’s too blue, the hot aqua sky.
I used to unwrap grapes one at a time
with my tongue and teeth — that is the ugly kind
of joy I have forgotten. In the mirror, whorls
of flesh. Light appears wanting to cross-hatch
and accidentally illuminates everything.
Today, I chide myself for thinking “flesh.”
If you ask me to undress I will undress,
because what else is there to do? talk about it?
I cross my legs and put one hand in my lap.
In this equation, the other hand could hold anything —
silver, or steel. A girl was killed by the sun in a hot room
because she didn’t move. Here is me going from place to place by bus,
and now by train. In this diagram, I am something like alive.
In the room, by the curtain, I stand with one hand on my silver,
and one against my face. The passion fruit I hold
doesn’t fit this pose. Neither does the knife.
If I cut the fruit, the world comes sliding out.

by Sara Balsom

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Editor’s note: The opening line of this poem sets the tone for the surrealistic imagery that carries the other questions forth.


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