Self-Portrait at 38

By Jennifer Tonge b. 1965 Jennifer Tonge
Hair still Titian,
but Botticelli's grip has loosened—

not now Rubenesque,   
and probably never;

Ingres approaches,   
but Courbet might capture me.

Could I be surreal?
It seems almost likely—

bells in my ears
and fortresses under;

cones have been set on my eyes.
My spring is gone

and summer's upon me,
rude in its ripening.

I'm espaliered, strung wide and tied,   
pinioned, and thus can I fly.

Source: Poetry (May 2005).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2005
 Jennifer  Tonge


Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jennifer Tonge received an MFA from the University of Utah. Tonge’s poetry has been anthologized in Rising Phoenix (2004) and Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English (2000). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Quarterly West, Poetry, Ploughshares, New England Review, and Bellingham Review.
The recipient of fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Jennifer Tonge

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Midlife, Growing Old, Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Allusion

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.