Portraits

By Mark Irwin Mark Irwin
Mother came to visit today. We
hadn’t seen each other in years. Why didn’t
you call? I asked. Your windows are filthy, she said. I know,
I know. It’s from the dust and rain. She stood outside.
I stood in, and we cleaned each one that way, staring into each other’s eyes,
rubbing the white towel over our faces, rubbing
away hours, years. This is what it was like
when you were inside me, she said. What? I asked,
though I understood. Afterwards, indoors, she smelled like snow
melting. Holding hands we stood by the picture window,
gazing into the December sun, watching the pines in flame.


Poem copyright ©2010 by Mark Irwin from his most recent book of poems, Large White House Speaking, New Issues, 2013 and reprinted by permission of Mark Irwin and the publisher.  Poem first printed in The Sun, July 2010.  

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Poet Mark Irwin

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

 Mark  Irwin

Biography

Mark Irwin is the author of six collections of poetry, two volumes of translation, and a recently completed book of essays on contemporary American poetry entitled “Monster.” His most recent book is American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987–2011). He lives in Colorado.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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