M.J. Iuppa, “How Do You Imagine Yourself?”

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How Do You Imagine Yourself?

Take a deep breath, feel air slowly inflating
your body that has been collapsed for so long.

Take another gulp, only this time lean forward.
Let your hips rock your spine, unlocking each

kink until your body stands on one foot, then
another, facing forward, so you can breathe

freely, with arms loose at your sides, and head
tilted upward, looking up through branches

of an old maple that stands in the front yard
where crows have hidden secret stashes in

its leafy crown, and you declare, Why I never
knew that was there, as if it were a surprise,

like the way the wind catches your body off-
guard, making you wheel wildly back around,

arms flapping madly at whoever is passing by.
Yes, they see you, and laugh—they laugh at

the way you move, you silly old man.


M.J. Iuppa is the director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and a lecturer in creative writing at St. John Fisher College and since 2000 has been a part-time lecturer in creative writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with K-12 students in Rochester, NY, and the surrounding area. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full-length poetry collections: This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017); Small Worlds Floating (2016) and Within Reach (2010), both from Cherry Grove Collections; and Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and she has published five chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin, NY.


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