“A Self” by Joy Ladin
Author: Poetry Editor
May 5, 2015
This week, a new poem by Joy Ladin.
Once there was a self.
Not my self, not yours.
A self free of pronouns and deixis,
a still-condensing drop of dew, a husky nothingness.
Give me your hand I said, at a busy intersection,
but the self had no hand to give,
no body for cars to hit.
Give me your love I said, when we were alone
among the romantic shadows
cast by the candle of metabolism.
But the self had no shadow, no face to glow,
no love to command.
The self was a place where nothing had happened,
like the frame of flickering black
before a movie begins, a place where nothing runs
and keeps running, when the movie ends.
JOY LADIN is the author of seven books of poetry, including just-published Impersonation and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. She holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University.