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Still Life
By Hannah Gershel, Eagle River High School
Genre: Poetry Level: High School 10-12
Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

I stare into the mirror for a long time, looking at my eyes
Behind me, you point at different corners of the room with your camera
Coming to rest under the table, on the viola
Personally, I would have snapped a photo of the bowl of grapes
In a square of light beside the kitchen sink
Because they remind me of a song in my mind

 

You leave the room in search of better light, and I hope you don’t mind
That I took your reading glasses from the drawer because they confuse my eyes
And now that I’m alone, I stumble around in search of the kitchen sink
Listening for the distant shutter-click of your busy camera
Until my hand finds its way to the bowl of grapes
I pick one, and it tastes like a tart chord played on the viola

 

I remember when you used to play that old viola
And I would construct intricate dances to your music in my mind
And you had a song that you called “Sour Grapes”
Because that’s how you described the color of my eyes
And you snapped up that color in your camera
And developed it, and washed off the chemicals in the sink

 

You played another song called “Begin to sink”
And it made you sad to play, and after, you’d put down your viola
And hide away with the photos from your camera
Because they’re better than the pictures in your mind
And we’d both pretend there wasn’t water in your eyes
Like the sting of sour grapes

 

My mouth is tart from the bitter grapes
So I throw them away in the bin beneath the sink
And push my fingers under your glasses to cover my eyes
And I imagine smashing your old viola
And crushing it into a million pieces, like the pictures in my mind
And taking a photo of the destruction with your stupid camera

 

I hear the snap of the shutter on your camera
And turn to look at you with eyes like sour grapes
And I wonder if we fit together, the pieces in your mind and in my mind
You help me to my feet and I steady myself on the kitchen sink
And your voice is thick, like the dust on your viola
And you brush away the tears under my eyes

 

You tell me how hard it is to capture my mind with your camera
And so you settle on photos of my eyes, like sour grapes
Because they help you to sink into my face, like the song you’ve forgotten how to play on            your viola

 


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