Academic journal article et Cetera

The Face

Academic journal article et Cetera

The Face

Article excerpt

See how the infant smiles to evoke

A sympathy of attachment. The uncanny symmetry

Of eyes, the nose, a central talisman,

And lips that open to soothe,

Close on a scold like lids.

A child fears the grotesque face

Of a brass doorknob that shuts on sleep,

Its nailhead eyes glittering in moonlight.

If it should speak!

Faces bloom in the sweat of plaster,

Or emerge fiercely on tree trunks.

Saints or saviors float in the sky. Green Man

In the wood, virgin in the grotto.

Here's a demon in a straw mask

From Merida.

Faces in old portraits are serious

With the business of existence,

While dead faces fade from memory

Like instamatic prints that failed to last.

Jack-o-lantem faces terrify the child

who draws a kindly circle

With holes for eyes and nostrils and

A curved line that smiles.

Think of what is faced or defaced

Or forgotten like names.

The way a beloved face shines through ages

Cached in a locket or a pocket-watch. On the I-phone,

Your own face, the selfie, that you post

To be friended.

Malleable face with pretensions

Of perfection or mockery-

Grimacing, eye-crossed, tongue protruding.

With a dangling rattlestring

On the wall of a Mayan temple.

In death, the face is waxen. Its eyes

Stuck open, mouth agape

With the final breath. …

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