Poetry

Glasses

Sandra Gibbons’ portfolio: poetry
 

They were hideously pink and blue
frames curling all a—
round those ears, tethering
thick, heavy lenses to my face
At school, I hid
them in the broken zipper
compartment of my backpack, which
I spun like a helicopter
on my walk home
When they weren't there
Mom slapped me—
yanked me by the hair,
Don't come back
until you find them.

So, I squinted along the road
until Dad drove me home
to vitriolic static, and
glasses flying across the room


Background

My childhood was marred by a series of experiences that, in retrospect, signaled an end to my parents’ marriage. I wrote this poem to recount what happened when I lost my first pair of eyeglasses—I was eight years old and in third grade. As a child, I was shy and had few friends at school. I was embarrassed by those glasses that were pink on the upper rim and blue on the lower, whose temple tips wrapped around my ears to keep them from ever slipping off. And those ears? I hated them. I was teased and called Dumbo because they stuck straight out, and I felt like my glasses drew attention to them.

Style

Most of my works are confessional free verse. In Glasses, various forms of rhyming appear at irregular intervals, and all but one line have under nine syllables. This gives the poem an overall melodic flow with its varying meter. Illustrative words help the reader visualize the scene, and the poem’s pace quickens to an abrupt end.

As you read the poem, you gain an understanding of how I feel about the glasses. The word around wraps into the third line of the poem, mimicking how the glasses’ tips wrap around my ears. Line five can be read as a standalone statement of my feelings toward school: I hid. By the end of the poem, there’s a presumption of household violence and discord. Vitriolic static gives dual meaning to line 17: it describes the harsh quarreling amongst the parents, and points to a hopelessly corrosive home life in which nothing ever changes. The double entendre of the final line brings the story full-circle to what brought us here—glasses flying.