Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poem of the Week: "How I Became Impossible," by Mary Ruefle

Here's a poem I've liked since reading it in an anthology five years ago. I really like the stuff at the end about polar bears and penguins, since I'm pretty sure I had this same problem up until high school. Enjoy!

How I Became Impossible, by Mary Ruefle

I was born shy, congenitally unable to do anything
profitable, to see anything in color, to love plums,
with a marked aversion to traveling around the room,
which is perfectly normal in infants.
Who wrote this? were my first words.
I did not like to be torched.
More snow fell than was able to melt,
I became green-eyed and in due time traveled
to other countries where I formed opinions
on hard, cold, shiny objects and soft, warm,
nappy things. Late in life I began to develop
a passion for persimmons and was absolutely delighted
when a postcard arrived for the recently departed.
I became recalcitrant, spending more and more time
with my rowboat. All my life I thought polar bears
and penguins grew up together playing side by side
on the ice, sharing the same vista, bits of blubber
and innocent lore. One day I read a scientific journal;
there are no penguins at one pole, no bears
on the other. These two, who were so long intimates
in my mind, began to drift apart, each on his own floe,
far out into the glacial seas. I realized I was becoming
impossible, more and more impossible,
and that one day it really would be true.

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful poem. I was just searching for it to make sure that "torched" isn't a typo!