Self-Portrait

By Afaa Michael Weaver b. 1951 Afaa Michael Weaver
I see myself in the shadows of a leaf
compressed to the green blades growing
to a point like the shards of miles of mirrors
falling and cracking to perfect gardens.

I never inspect the withered assumption
of my face’s petty dialogue in raindrops,
the deceptive spreading of the words
oozing from the skin to the edges of water
etched on the ground by gravity and wishing.

Passing for the seriousness of my eye,
platitudes of my white collar or
the perfect posture of my lips, it skirts
from the leaves of the plant hiding me
and sits stoic like stone in my pupil,
mute and unassuming, like Rashi.

To gather myself I will swim naked
in the wind, bending my blind elbows
in circles, stopping now to dance
like the cherubic gold on the ark,
and gather myself from the particles
of this excitement another structure,
one closely resembling the beginning.

Afaa Michael Weaver, “Self Portrait” from Multitudes: Poems Selected & New. Copyright © 2000 by Afaa Michael Weaver. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc.

Source: Multitudes: Poems Selected & New (Sarabande Books, 2000)

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Poet Afaa Michael Weaver b. 1951

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Nature, The Body

 Afaa Michael  Weaver

Biography

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Afaa Michael Weaver was born Michael S. Weaver to working class parents in 1951. His poetry echoes the gospel and blues ethos of his mother and father, who were themselves the children of farmers in southernmost Virginia. His father grew up as a sharecropper. The eldest of five children, Weaver graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic high school and entered the University of Maryland in College Park . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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