Déjà Vu

It happened to me once.
Winter came, and snow quilted every inch.
I stood on the soapbox, as I was told,
and made staggering accusations. The public ignored,
so I retreated behind the potted yew.
I was waiting for a moment I was supposed to have

on a balcony overlooking the giant, gridded landscape.
The sounds I made underscored what I meant.
The potted yew was the face that I wore.
It was a metaphor for what could be.
The public endured.
I put the potted yew behind me. I made staggering an art.

That wasn’t the truth though. Winter
comes and negates all it covers. It doesn’t matter where I stand.
The balcony is a floor without walls.
The yew is a hurt that shadows.
The instance lives beneath us. Not just us, everybody.

The shadow hurts us. I make sounds like
the truth. Fate and theft are involved.
I think I told you this before. The floor is a wall that obscures.
The yew is quilt without color. Shadow is a fate you involved.
The yew on a balcony negates. I told you this before.
I was left undone. It’s what I meant. Underneath everyone.

Carmen Giménez Smith, “Déjà Vu” from Odalisque in Pieces. Copyright © 2009 by Carmen Gimenez Smith. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009)
More Poems by Carmen Giménez Smith