SAL/ON

A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“Self-Portrait,” by Lucinda Gilbertson

A photo of a girl
Rosy cheeked and round
Hangs on a wall in my house
Arms spread wide and welcoming
The perfect picture of childhood
Of tire swings
And clam bakes
And playing pretend
She worries about birds and cats and worms
Sits on her porch swing
Listens to her dad play guitar
Savoring every perfect note
She is daddy’s little girl
And mama’s favorite kid
Little drifter,
15 trips around the sun hasn’t removed her from herself
Just changed her
Cell by cell
Into someone new
This picture is less perfect
A picture of fear
And exhaustion
And feeling too real
She worries about anything and everything
And doesn’t have time
To listen to her dad
Play guitar


Lucinda Gilbertson wrote this poem while a 9th grader at Nathan Hale High School, with WITS Writer-in-Residence Matt Gano. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Women You Need to Know (WYNK) Series event with Lindy West at Town Hall Seattle on November 26, 2019.

Posted in PoetryWomen You Need to KnowWriters in the Schools2019/20 Season