"Venus de Milo: On Being Rediscovered" by Karen Head

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December 30, 2021 

Venus de Milo: On Being Rediscovered

Karen Head

It’s like that moment,
hair mussed,
teeth coated
in the stale air
of the morning after
when rushing
for a taxi,
pantyhose
and shoes
in hand,
you encounter
anyone who
thinks they
know you.

Copyright © 2021 by Karen Head. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 30, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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When I turned fifty, a friend told me that one of the great joys of aging is no longer needing outside validation. Not long after that conversation, I needed shoulder surgery. One day, after passing several friends and acquaintances on my way to physical therapy, looking anything but my best and genuinely not caring what they thought, I found myself reading an article about the Venus de Milo. The idea of being discovered in a state that some would argue is not beautiful inspired me to write this modern aubade.”
Karen Head

Karen Head is the author of Lost on Purpose (Iris Press, 2019), among other books. The editor of the Atlanta Review, she served as the Poet Laureate of Fulton County, Georgia from 2020 to 2022. A native of Atlanta, she now resides in Rolla, Missouri.
Lost on Purpose
(Iris Press, 2019)

“The White Fires of Venus” by Denis Johnson
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“venus waning/apollo waxing his car” by Matthew Rohrer
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Thanks to Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read a Q&A about Kaminsky’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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