about the author

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Berkeley, CA, and the poetry and fiction editor of Psychological Perspectives, which is published by the Los Angeles Jung Institute. Her poem “Madelyn Dunham, Passing On” won first prize in the Obama Millennium Contest. Her work has been widely published and has appeared or is forthcoming in Argestes, Backwards City Review, Barely South Review, and others. Her poetry collection, Adagio & Lamentation, was published in July 2010. Two of her poems, “In the Garden” and “Emanuel,” were accepted for the Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises grandparenting anthology, Child of My Child.

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Self-Portrait With Ghost

Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

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Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?
—Pablo Picasso

If you should wander in from Beyond
With your hungry eyes and your brushes
How would you capture me now?

Your self-portrait from the bad years
Holds my gaze. Look
My face has gathered angles—strong nose

For ghosts, dark brow, well-versed
In grief—like yours—a shock
Of white mane I’d have you paint

Like the crest of an Alp—were you here to see
How far I’ve come from that trembling
Girl in a white dress with red flowers

From half a century ago. Yours was the time
Of Picasso. It wasn’t your work
To break the world open, to see

What’s inside. It wasn’t your way
To leap into myth with Minotaur or clown. You painted
The outside—winter trees, family faces.

I wonder, how would you capture what glows
In me now? The burning snake
The dark lady, the lion who tracks

My sun and my rising, the egg I keep
In my pocket, like Jung
To smuggle some god across borders?

Maybe you’d paint me writing
Maybe you’d give me a backdrop
With crescent moons, cups and wands

Mysterious Hebrew letters. Maybe
You’d sit me down by the window
Let the tree shine in, as light from behind

A curtain, softens your face from
The bad years. Beyond the seen
Is a place, where your hungry eyes

Still hold me, and poems begin...

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