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My Life

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The huge doll of my body   
refuses to rise.
I am the toy of women.   
My mother

would prop me up for her friends.   
“Talk, talk,” she would beg.
I moved my mouth
but words did not come.

My wife took me down from the shelf.   
I lay in her arms. “We suffer
the sickness of self,” she would whisper.   
And I lay there dumb.

Now my daughter
gives me a plastic nurser
filled with water.
“You are my real baby,” she says.

Poor child!
I look into the brown   
mirrors of her eyes   
and see myself

diminishing, sinking down
to a depth she does not know is there.   
Out of breath,
I will not rise again.

I grow into my death.
My life is small
and getting smaller. The world is green.   
Nothing is all.

Mark Strand, “My Life” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Source: Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990)
My Life

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