Narcissism

Kevin Prufer Click to read more...

kpruferKevin Prufer was born in Ohio and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Houston. He has published six collections of poetry, most recently Churches (Four Way Books, 2014), which was named by The New York Times one of the “Ten Favorite Poetry Books of 2014.” He has received three Pushcart Prizes, appeared twice in Best American Poetry and earned an NEA Fellowship in Poetry. He is an officer in the National Book Critics Circle and Editor-at-Large for Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing.  “Narcissism” first appeared in Shenandoah 47/4.

 

For this, still-fingered, I focused
my blue microscope until the fish’s translucent scale
filled the fine lens’ curved view.

What were the rays that shuddered to the scale’s rim?
So onionlike, so much like my own iris’s black lines
that tremble to my eye-white’s inner edge?

Between the glass slide’s surface and the lens’s curve
it was as though another, finer eye
stared up at me. I, who have never been

the subject of anything, was the world
into which it looked and what it saw came from myself.
I thought about my own eye’s perfect brown.

When, finally, I lifted my head,
my lab, which once seemed ordered, white, bottle-lined,
caught the brilliant light

that passed through the room’s high windows.

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