Editor’s Pick: A Mendelian Self-portrait by Jay Thumar

“This poem is full of beautiful imagery and strong diction. The concentration on Mendelian genetics is interesting, and through it the author effortlessly created an introspective, self-analyzing piece.” 
—Shannon Perrin, poetry editor Spring 2016

On this page, I exhibit the fauvist mother gaze
in thirsty gouache strokes that couldn’t be undone.
But my heart hides the aches of a peasant paintbrush
whose meager lines, couldn’t be made visible.

On it, my father’s nose and skin of sand dunes rage
But his warm oasis eyes I could never have.
I don’t allow, not even in my cataleptic jives,
and yet, a ghoul of his stutter lives in my mouth,
clung to my lips, it shines, mighty as keloid.
For vengeance, I refuse to inherit the family jargons,
and yet, I speak the language of his pellucid poems.
I gladly take the scalp, although in his shiny obsidian—
the black of outer space—you can search for stars.
I have onyx, proud and muddled.

Years later, at some age, my daughter will wake up
from a nightmare and searche for a mirror,
afraid that night has dappled her portrait
with colors that vaguely resemble her father.

Originally published in the Spring 2016 edition of The Helix.


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