Photo of a Girl on a Beach

By Carmen Giménez Smith b. 1971 Carmen Gimenez Smith
Once when I was harmless
and didn’t know any better,

a mirror to the front of me
and an ocean behind,

I lay wedged in the middle of daylight,
paper-doll thin, dreaming,

then I vanished. I gave the day a fingerprint,
then forgot.

I sat naked on a towel
on a hot June Monday.

The sun etched the inside of my eyelids,
while a boy dozed at my side.

The smell of all oceans was around us—
steamy salt, shell, and sweat,

but I reached for the distant one.
A tide rose while I slept,

and soon I was alone. Try being
a figure in memory. It’s hollow there.

For truth’s sake, I’ll say she was on a beach
and her eyes were closed.

She was bare in the sand, long,
and the hour took her bit by bit.

Carmen Giménez Smith, “Photo of a Girl on a Beach” from Odalisque in Pieces. Copyright © 2009 by Carmen Gimenez Smith. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009)

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Poet Carmen Giménez Smith b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Youth, Time & Brevity, Nature, Summer, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

 Carmen  Giménez Smith

Biography

Born in New York, poet Carmen Giménez Smith earned a BA in English from San Jose State University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She writes lyric essays as well as poetry, and is the author of the poetry chapbook Casanova Variations (2009), the full-length collection Odalisque in Pieces (2009), and the memoir Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else (2010). Her most . . .

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Poems by Carmen Giménez Smith

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Time & Brevity, Nature, Summer, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Arts & Sciences, Photography & Film

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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