I don’t look at my face
in the mirror much anymore.
It has its life, I have mine.
Someday I will leave my house and address
the living by name
without apologies or explanations.
I will not speak to the dead. They are
whether my salvation depends on a plumed serpent
or a tadpole god,
a basilica burns
in every rosebud
or the tomb of a popular pope is scoured awake
by searchlights and rumor.
The converted opening their veins.
Anyone may be replaced
by steam, by electricity.
There is no sun protection in the end.
Just this walking out,
Dorothy Barresi is the author of four books of poetry: American Fanatics (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010); Rouge Pulp; The Post-Rapture Diner, winner of an American Book Award; and All of the Above. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, the Emily Clark Balch Prize from Virginia Quarterly Review, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. For the last two years, she has served as a judge for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry. She is a professor of English and creative writing at California State University, Northridge, and lives in Los Angeles.
“Face” appears in our Winter 2013 issue.