By Dorothea Tanning 1910–2012 Dorothea Tanning
Don't look at me   
for answers. Who am I but   
a sobriquet,   
a teeth-grinder,   
grinder of color,   
and vanishing point?   

There was a time   
of middle distance, unforgettable,   
a sort of lace-cut   
flame-green filament   
to ravish my   
skin-tight eyes.   

I take that back—   
it was forgettable but not   
entirely if you   
consider my   
heavenly bodies . . .   
I loved them so.   

Heaven's motes sift   
to salt-white—paint is ground   
to silence; and I,   
I am bound, unquiet,   
a shade of blue   
in the studio.   

If it isn't too late   
let me waste one day away   
from my history.   
Let me see without   
looking inside   
at broken glass.

Source: Poetry (April 2002).

 Dorothea  Tanning


Artist and writer Dorothea Tanning grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and spent almost 30 years living in Paris, before moving to New York City. Tanning started writing poetry in her late ’80s, and her work was subsequently published in the Yale Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and the New Republic. Her first collection of poems, A Table of Content, was published in 2004. The epigraph to A Table of Content comments that “it’s hard . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse, Persona

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