Amorphous clarity is what I see
surveying myself from here inside my skull.
My edges blend into the world about me
yet others find my outlines far from dull.
Sometimes I'm bright, sometimes dark as mud
dug from the streamside, squeezed, fingered like clay,
molded and dried, painted with grass and blood,
doused in a spotlight dazzling out dismay.
What is there left when I've been scrutinized,
dissected, put together as a shape
cruelly immortalized, allegorized
analogy of woman to an ape.
Did Beatrice know herself? Marie-Therese
once Pablo had transformed her into curves?
Did Montezuma, seen by stout Cortez,
does Goethe's Gretchen or are fruits preserves?
The women Arbus saw, did happy they
say 'that is me my dear, you got me right'
and Marilyn, art of herself, display
the contours hiding from us in plain sight?
Obituaries will not help me when
you stand and say she was a perfect wife
and mother, once a teacher, cook and then
she never said a bad word in her life.
Who am I? Tell me now before I blow
my cover, let it be outside my frame,
immortalizer, let me, not you, know
the poem you can write me for my name.