Partial Resemblance

A doll's hair concealing   
an eggshell skull delicately   
throbbing, within which
maggots in voluptuous unrest   
jostle and shrug. Oh, Eileen, my   
big doll, your gold hair was   
not more sunny than this
human fur, but
your head was
radiant in its emptiness,
a small clean room.

Her warm and rosy mouth
is telling lies—she would
believe them if she could believe:   
her pretty eyes
search out corruption. Oh, Eileen   
how kindly your silence was, and   
what virtue
shone in the opening and shutting of your   
ingenious blindness.

Denise Levertov, “Partial Resemblance” from Poems 1960-1967. Copyright © 1961 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.
Source: The Jacob's Ladder (New Directions, 1961)
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