Self-Portrait as an Interested Person Who’s Looking for Something Beautiful by Peter Leight

When my eyes poke out I press them in until they’re smooth,
I’m not the kind of person who isn’t interested in anything that nobody else is interested in.
Lifting my shoulders as if I’m peeking over something,
not even blinking
or looking for anything to pick up—
honestly I don’t mind looking at something I don’t even know if I’m going to see.
I don’t need to visualize,
I’m not one of those people who’s only interested in something because everybody else is.
Not hiding under my eyelids,
not that I know of,
I don’t want to miss anything in case it’s something I can’t afford to miss.
Sometimes I cover my eyes with my hands and peek through the cracks in my fingers, as if I’m looking for something partial or cut off,
if it’s a secret I’m going to forget about it right away,
that way I won’t be tempted.
If it’s beautiful I truly believe the world is full of beauty,
beautiful the way Kant thought beauty is separate from any interest, although I’m interested in lots of things,
I’m actually interested in everything I can think of,
not even making exceptions,
as long as something is beautiful I don’t even care if it’s interesting, it doesn’t even bother me, I mean it’s not beautiful because it’s interesting.
I’m keeping my eyes open,
not even turning away
or disappearing behind my eyes,
I’m not the kind of person who isn’t interested in anything that everybody else is interested in, even if it’s beautiful.

Peter Leight lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, FIELD, New World, Raritan, and other magazines.