Eyes Like Leeks

By Linda Gregerson b. 1950 Linda Gregerson
It had almost nothing to do with sex.   
                      The boy
               in his corset and farthingale, his head-

voice and his smooth-for-the-duration chin   
                      was not
               and never had been simply in our pay. Or

was it some lost logic the regional accent   
               A young Welsh actor may play a reluctant

laborer playing Thisby botching   
               and stop our hearts with wonder. My young friend

he’s seven—touched his mother’s face last night   
                      and said It’s
               wet and, making the connection he has had

to learn by rote, You’re sad.   
                      It’s never
               not like this for him. As if,

the adolescents mouth wherever California spills
                      its luminous   
               vernacular. As if, until

the gesture holds, or passes. Let’s just   
               we’ll live here for a while. O

habitus. O wall. O moon. For my young   
               it’s never not some labored

simulacrum, every tone of voice, each   
                      give, each
               take is wrested from an unrelenting social

dark. There’s so much dark to go around (how   
               to be this and no other and, like all

the others, marked for death), it’s a wonder   
                      we pass
               for locals at all. Take Thisby for instance:

minutes ago she was fretting for lack of a beard   
                      and now
               she weeps for a lover slain by a minute’s

misreading. Reader, it’s   
               as the lion’s tooth. Who takes

the weeping away now takes delight as well,   
                      which feels   
               for all the world like honest

work. They’ve never worked with mind before,
                      the rich
               man says. But moonlight says, With flesh.

Linda Gregerson, “Eyes Like Leeks” from Waterborne. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Gregerson. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Waterborne (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)


Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Linda Gregerson b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Theater & Dance, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Relationships, Nature

Poetic Terms Free Verse