Self-Portrait as Missing Person by Justin Boening
Winner of the 2012 PSA Chapbook Fellowship
Self-Portrait as Missing Person by Justin Boening, selected and introduced by Dara Wier.
Edition: 500 Copies of the winning books were printed by Westcan Printing Group and designed by Gabriele Wilson.
Starting now, I'll do everything
as if I were a god.
I'll walk from a dark room
as a god walks from a dark room,
I'll speak to strangers
as a god speaks to strangers.
When it's time to say something important,
I'll rise from my chair like a god would
and speak in my
There will be no more
lap-sitting, no more stories
about when I was a barback or a ferryman
or a farrier. There will be
fewer hours spent
tuning my piano
and patting my hunting dogs,
my youth. When I need you to hurt
I'll put you to sleep as a god puts you to sleep,
I'll play my discordant harp as a god plays a harp,
and the effects will be the same.
The noise of the bramble
never leaves me.
I bless the cedar. The months go by. I bless your saw.
When you need
me to hurt, I'll dim in the linden leaves,
I'll hide in the fire-scarred hills,
and the great guards
of my gilded name
will circle around to protect me.
And you'll be there.
And I'll know your name
as a god knows your name,
as a father knows your name,
but you won't recognize me.