Back to Issue Forty-Seven

The Transfiguration



I left my glasses off and the deer in the grass
became hemlock trees. My mind shaped a praying

mantis into the swaying cane of a rosebush.
Each bird in the leafless tree

became a dark leaf, and the sunflowers
turned back into paint. I mistook the sound of wind

for water, the sound of water for water. As we all do,
I mistook others for who I thought they were.

Everywhere I went, I was mistaken
but faithful to the impression, holding the shape

of what I was placed in. Doors opened for me:
men’s restrooms, men’s work, though I was not trained

in framing, laying pipe, the labor of making
an old home look new. I mistook the mock

as what it was made in the image of, my untrained eye
seeing moths first as what they mimicked: the bark

of a willow, flower petals clean as skin
on the face of a man looking back at me.

Draw what you see, not what you think you see.
But how does one tell the difference?

What you thought you saw was wrong,
and the truth, more interesting than anything imagined.

Ira Goga is a poet and biochemist whose work appears in DIAGRAM, Muzzle, DIALOGIST, and elsewhere. They are an MFA student at UT Austin.

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