My brother faces my profile, scratches
me in graphite, erases my only eye.
Hmm, tries again. It’s fall.
Maple leaves land. Warm and copper, they cover
my feet. The sun is low but still whole, and the grass
is damp with overripe pumpkin-juices,
brisket-soft logs, earthworms.
On the trampoline sits a bluejay, blue, round,
and crowned as the blueberries my brother pops
down his throat as he sketches and scratches
and hums. What if he decided to draw the whole me,
not just my head and shoulders, but my entire being,
and I suddenly lost grasp of reality and became 2D?
What if he drew me so intently that I drowned
in his page, reemerging as a mere set of lines?
It could happen, if I stay here long enough
next to his prowess, his lifelike abilities.
He could draw a portrait that looks realer than the real me,
and society shuns redundancy, so I’d have no choice
but to merge with my replica in a white pulp universe.
My days would pass in blank nothingness, 8X11,”
a cornered habitat where trees have no leaves,
and the ground has no trees, and Earth
has no ground. I’d float and float around and around,
nowhere to lie down. Lungless and tongueless
with no wit or senses, I’d spend my remaining days
with memories faded as lines after they’ve been erased:
timid, trembling memories of my family and who I used to be.
No trampolines to bounce on or wind to spin with or
leaves to catch or blueberries to steal or…
just me, alone with myself and barely-there recollections of a before.
One day, I’d finally die. My brother would find me in his drawer,
scoff at me, crumple me up with his 3D, flesh-and-bone fingers
the way I’m crumpling a parchment-dry leaf
between my bare toes right now, as my brother draws me.

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—Mariel Norris lives in the Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts in an apartment filled with cacti and poetry books. She teaches special education and sneaks poetry lessons into the curriculum whenever possible. A Bard College graduate, she received the Academy of American Poets Prize for Bard in 2013. You can find her poetry in Slink Chunk Press, Scarlet Leaf Review, and TreeHouse.

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