Poem of the Week | July 24, 2009

This week we are proud to feature “Resistance” by Bronwen Butter Newcott.  The poem is previously unpublished.  Newcott’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, The Baltimore Review, Smartish Pace, The Portland Review, and elsewhere.  She grew up in Washington DC and currently lives with her family in Southern California.

I’ve been thinking about how many of life’s changes come slowly, literally dawn on us, brighten our surroundings until all of the sudden we’re glaring into newness.  I’m in a stage of life where that happens a lot.  Some days I just laugh about it.  Other days I stand outside myself and watch this woman, man, and two children, wondering who they are.  And then there are the rare moments when I can actually see – the points in life that redefine and change me a bit. This poem is about one of those.


As I pull on my jeans, I watch you at the mirror
slide the razor over your jawbone, up the skin of your cheek.
You study yourself, the lines penciled across
your forehead, the crowsfeet by your eyes.  Every day
this face of a man surprises you, and you hesitate
for a second before buttoning your pressed shirt.
You are unsure of this commitment to adulthood,
of the weighty children we’ve scattered about the house
and now must raise, of your father’s rage filling
your mouth.  At two, our son knows nothing of your unease.
He runs train cars along the couch arm and watches you
from the window as you walk to your car. To him,
you are fact – you are water, root, unshakably Man.