When reading and revising “Attempting Perfection,” it made me think of a self-portrait I did during the time that I was bedbound. The final image of the poem is its opposite as far as color goes, but the feeling is much the same. At the time that I took this photo, I was feeling like I was fading from existence rotting away in that bed. Luckily I found things that helped me to mitigate the symptoms that had driven me there, but many people suffer for decades before diagnosis, just as I did. Of course the poem discusses a very different sort of disappearance.
by Michelle Beltano Curtis
Cut, paste, smudge, erase. Here a breast (those your grandmas?), here a mouth (nice bow, but too crooked and thin) here an eye (dark as the devil’s), a nose, a torso, my thunder thighs. Every part disappears in a smear, a blur, a blizzard whiteout—too odious to leave a hint or trace, a mere shadow where a body once rested remains—the jane doe chalk—not outline, but relief.
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