The Window at Night

By Jennifer Grotz

Eyes wide like an owl’s, an aspirin-pale face

foretells in lamplight how it accumulates age.

Somewhat masked, somewhat naked, there’s no way

to know what others see when looking at it.

All five of the body’s senses crowd

on this small planet a weather of hair surrounds.

My face is not a democracy — the eyes are tyrants

and the ears are radical dissenters.

In the conversations of eyebrows, mine are whispers.

Like the window at night, the face reflects too,

uncertain how to change when greeting itself

(and is it not cruel when another’s face

won’t reflect acknowledgment of you?).

My mother, my father, and my brother are found

in the blurring of feature and expression.

Cynicism finds no purchase here;

the same cannot be said for sadness

(and look deeper — anger hides in the jaw).

And while the nose quietly broods

like an actor rehearsing his soliloquy,

the empty page of the forehead, when I raise my brows,

fills suddenly with questions.

Rochester-based poet, critic and literary translator JENNIFER GROTZ will read from her work at 2 p.m. today in the auditorium of Buffalo State College’s Burchfield Penney Art Center. She is the author of two collections of poetry, “The Needle” (2011) and “Cusp” (2003), both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.