Knopf Poem-a-Day: April 29, Lucie Brock-Broido’s “Self-Portrait with Her Hair on Fire”


Lucie Brock-Broido’s last book, Trouble in Mind, came out in 2004, so we are more than ready for a major new collection from her; watch for Stay, Illusion, to come this October. Looking both back and forward, then, here’s one of Brock-Broido’s many turns on the self-portrait poem.

Self-Portrait with Her Hair on Fire

Now, it is as dark as the pathos of pushing a wheel-
Chair through the museum of a great metropolis.

I cannot tell you this, not now, not ever, even
In the letter I have written that is so epic

That if you were to open it, the pages would sail out
In the wind like confection moths being born

In the thousands out of their sacks, blowing
Away, page by page, in a wind the color of her hair

Across a medieval pillow endlessly scorched,
The singe of something living tinged with fire.

I will go on loving as I love the backs
                  Of things and the invisible,

As I love the hideous or an attention
                  So attentive it is next to worshipping.

Learn more about Lucie Brock-Broidos Trouble in Mind and browse other titles by Lucie Brock-Broido.

Excerpt from TROUBLE IN MIND, © 2004 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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