100: Admission by Mary Jo Bang

My mother was glamorous in a way I knew I never

would be. Velvet belt buckle. Mascara lash. Miniature

crimson lipstick alive in the pocket of a purse. Her

bow mouth was forever being twinned to a tissue.

I never would wear that black windowpane see-

through blouse, mother-of-pearl buttons tracing the

path down her spine. Every woman was her rival. You

could say seriousness made me impossible, exactly

the same way beauty made her. I understand men.

Some like to have one woman in their arms, while a

second one stands on a half-shell, both continuously

shifting between being and being seen. Even as a

child, I understood there were erotic fishhooks that

one couldn’t see. I learned to use a camera to see what

I could be.



The author’s work can be found in the volume, A Doll for Throwing.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Did you ever find yourself attempting to live out and carry on your parent’s identity? What did it feel like when you realized you were very different people indeed?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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