Laura Klinkon


As I look at all the self-possessed faces

in little squares about a half-inch each

I marvel at how well some are obscured

by photographic camouflage while others

are displayed in what appears as frankness.

Naturally one looks at those a longer time

until we have divined the truth we

think they say: I am as peaceful and collected

as a Renaissance madonna, or as thrilled

with life as any ever was, or as ready to admit

my rank humility, or as righteous and resolved,

as glamorous and sedate, ineffable

as loving, or as primly bored as you are, or as openly

alert, or as seeking new horizons, or convincingly

agnostic, or resignedly industrious, am I sure I got them

all? While others show not faces but some substituting object,

painting, symbol, logo, landscape, borrowed face, to

hide behind. These at first attract attention in the

most dramatic way, but once noted, one just wonders

what deep meaning they betray…. It’s a question—

which is better: symbol? landscape? frankly me?

If, let’s say, a landscape stops me, I may look a little

more: falling waters, widening vista, swoop and

glide to distant shores…. I’ll go too, perhaps with you!

Fine-line drawing, country symbol tell me of your state

and taste, or if funny, somewhat knowing—may cast doubt on

how I rate! I prefer the full-face photos, still and silent as

they seem. You will likely think they’re steady… chances are,

they’ll always be. Needn’t tell what lies uncovered;

ache our gently probing minds—gently too, may be confusing…

better “Like” then out of mind.



Laura Klinkon was born in Sicily, emigrating with her parents at five years old. She has a B.A. and M.A. in Languages and Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and American University, and has worked in editing, writing, and translating in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Rochester, N.Y. She has published a full-length book of poetry, Trying to Find You (2013), and two chapbooks, Kitchen Abrasives (2017) and Looking Askance (2017).   Last year, Laura was granted a residency by the Library of Rome, and the resulting Italian translation of sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Silent Lyre/La Lira Silente (2018), is now available on and other bookstores.