portion of the artwork for Elizabeth P. Glixman's poems

What Other People Think
Three Possibilities
Elizabeth P. Glixman


My father thinks I am small and pale
My opinions as white and empty as a thin cloud
He thinks this I believe
Because when I am flushed with anger and words
Of acquisition
That beat him in the air
He walks away
Not having heard a syllable
And I sit softly steaming

My father thinks I am too emotional
He cannot understand why the light bothers my eyes
Or that my legs ache
Why I weep so easily when his son calls me names
Or he tells me
I’ll give you something to cry about


Why I give his wife the evil eye
After she says she agrees with him about me
He does not tolerate
Paleness or heat or anything I am

He doesn’t tolerate that I love him
He returns love to me like it is a birthday present
A sweater that was the wrong color
I can bring back to the department store


My brother thinks that his childhood was hell
He tells me I am depressed
It cannot be any other way
It doesn’t matter if I tell him that is not how I feel
I am pale and lack substance like a cloud
He is a xeroxed sheet of my father
Down to the large bold print words
He places in the air as if he is arranging his childhood
Alphabet blocks

I’ll give you something to cry about

He says it quietly as he leaves the room


My father thinks I am beautiful
Like a porcelain vase
He wants to keep me on the table in the hallway
I can’t leave the house or talk to anyone
Without his permission
He treats me like I am not real
But an artifact
And when we dance at other people’s weddings
He never steps on my toe
He never gets close enough
the cloud now large and solid stands stationary
between us.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 28 | Spring 2010