BY IRA GOGA
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.