Read a Poem

Return to this page each month for a different poem by D.S. Martin.

BEHIND MY EYES

The feeling behind my eyes is older than my eyes
its roots run deep ---deeper than the hollowness
of what wouldn't come early in school
deeper than the birdlike way attention-settled on a branch
then left it swaying ---abandoned

Did it begin behind my father's eyes
reflecting London Ontario in depression
when his mother died
& his father was left standing
a barren maple on a winter street

Did it begin behind my mother's eyes
in a boarding school in China
where her parents' love came by mail
(when the mail could get through)
a blossom dropping petals in the rain

I've ripped out every trace of that feeling
like the cedar shrubs from our back garden
whose roots I battle each spring
but I know ---oh too well
what's just beneath the surface

— D.S. Martin

(This poem first appeared in Wascana Review)