Poem of the Week, by Kathy Fagan

img_6107This poem haunts me. Not because it’s sad –or maybe it is; I don’t really know what this poem is about– but because when I read it, it brings back times of internal struggle. Like when I was young and trying desperately to work my solo way out of a secret, six-year eating disorder. Partway through this struggle, for reasons I no longer remember, I sat down and made a list of all the people dearest to me. One way to translate “eating disorder,” maybe, is “self-hatred,” but I clearly remember that when I finished the list, all their faces came swimming up in my mind, and every face was smiling at me with love. It came to me in that moment that clothes, size, money, age, looks, where a person went to college– none of it mattered. The one thing that would matter about me to the world, if only I could remember it, was my own spirit. That moment was a turning point in my struggle. And somehow it relates to this beautiful, mysterious poem, because when I read How we looked / didn’t matter for once / because we were flying, I feel as if I’m flying.

 

How We Looked, by Kathy Fagan

          didn’t matter for once 
because we were flying. 

          The crows we were 
clothed in took a running 

          start for the gothic 
and that was all: 

          tooled doors opened 
and waxy air 

          lifted us on its current. 
And though the jeweled 

          light was dim we could tell 
the faces we were 

          seeing were beautiful, 
each with a mouth 

          and voice, and there was 
no doubt then, 

          as our chins and our rib cages, 
our wrists and our knees 

          rose, that what mattered 
was that we obey 

          for once, and when 
the voices said, 

          Look up, Look up, 
though rain fell 

in our eyes, we did.     

 

Click here for more information about Kathy Fagan.

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