Billy Collins "Embrace"
You know the parlor trick.
Wrap your arms around your own body
and from the back it looks like
someone is embracing you,
her hands grasping your shirt,
her fingernails teasing you neck.
From the front it is another story.
You never looked so alone,
your crossed elbows and screwy grin.
You could be waiting for a tailor
to fit you for a straitjacket,
one that would hold you really tight.
“Embrace” is a poem depicting what it looks like when an individual, usually a kid, turns their back to you and crosses their arms to make it look like someone is hugging or kissing them. The interesting aspect of this poem however, is that the speaker is giving the audience a view of what the individual looks like from the front. The person’s arms are crossed, and you can visualize them being fitted for a straitjacket. My reasoning for using this poem is because it is something that I have done as a child. Looking back now, I laughed when reading this poem because I am sure that it looked quite funny from the front. I enjoy the way the speaker is able to place into words the visual aspects of what the front and back view would look like. When reading this poem, I am easily able to see what the speaker is talking about, and too, able to laugh at it as well.