V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Surely this face—generic, blank—
betrays no terror.  But her other face
is lost and floating on the river,
upturned like a lily in the air.

The police artist has slapped the flesh
back on her, wants us to know her,
makes her smile in that special way
a reconstructed woman smiles

after she's found without her face on
in a river, as though she tried
but failed to save us from the trouble
of her being there, our having to admit

that yes, we know her, smiling in the clay
the way we know the face of our own mother,
the reconstructed face that never
fooled us, built as crudely as it was

upon the scaffold of the other.

© by Rachel Loden


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