July/Aug 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 4 Poetry |

Mistaken Self-Portrait as Mother of an Unmade Daughterxx

Meghan O'Rourke Mistaken Self-Portrait as Mother of an Unmade Daughter Do you not want to be alive? I cant say I don't understand— To bring something into the world, a creature that will be ruled by the conflict between its "will" and its impulses, surroundings, limitations We choose many things, but we cant say we choose existence. My existence is not mine the way my opinions are, my blue crepe pants, my taste for cherries. My existence belongs in some sense to my parents, and to the universe — or God, if you believe in God. It belongs to evolution, the galaxy and the space beyond, to black holes, to red dwarfs, to hydrogen and oxygen and carbon. My existence belongs to iron. I understand, in a way, my body's reluctance to impose existence on another— and yet I — I almost feel you are real and I know you, turning over the beach shell in my hands, remembering the red sailboat shirt you wore all this summer, 22 Kenyon Reviewwith a button for the yellow sun — With my small p

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Meghan O’Rourke, a poet and essayist, is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Sun In Days. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes, she teaches in the writing programs at NYU and Princeton.

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By Meghan O’Rourke

Meghan O'Rourke Mistaken Self-Portrait as Mother of an Unmade Daughter Do you not want to be alive? I cant say I don't understand— To bring something into the world, a […]

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