“Match” is a poem that explores how society can get the better of you. The speaker experiences a strange reality where she involuntarily matches her surroundings, like a subtle chameleon. The waves in her hair resemble the draperies; the shape of her fingers look like a houseplant. The people around her react to her in ways that dehumanize. She becomes “an object / of fun,” and “a drinking game…” Further isolating her is the jealousy of the women and the fact that even blind men (who are the only men she will date) still “fingered her earlobes and delightfully found that they / matched the doorknob.”
Her “affliction” is never explained nor does it need to be. The point is that her gift, although strange and delightful, only serves to frustrate and alienate her. She receives the attention of many but feels alone. The only person she connects to is her sister “who was born with / mirrored eyes.” However, in the timeline of the poem, she misses her sister, so there really is no connection with her (or not a satisfying one). Also, in a sense, no one can connect to the sister, because her eyes (“the windows to the soul”) are reflective. No one can see her, only their own image.
The sister’s backstory is similar to the main character’s in that she feels disaffected by her gift. Her story is more difficult because, unlike her sister’s frivolous condition, her mirrored eyes reflect the truth onto whomever looks at her. This truth, which she cannot control and which upsets many of her onlookers, to the point of violence, makes it imperative that she live alone in the woods. I like the thought that the sister with the more serious problem is the one with the sense of humor. It often seems that people whose lives are the darkest are the first to turn on the light.
For the audio version, click here or below.
To be a young woman who always matches
the furniture, is to be the most
popular girl in town. It’s a strange
affliction, to take to a room like that. Her
looks, already handsome, her hair waving
to the floor like draperies, eyes inevitably
matching a pattern and color scheme no one
had even noticed.
At parties, she was an object
of fun, a drinking game for someone
to find the houseplant that resembled her
long and wilting fingers.
Women became jealous of her and began to call
ahead to inquire of the restaurant’s décor, so they
could hunch at such an angle that one might suspect
them as archways.
The girl only accepted dates from blind men who still
fingered her earlobes and delightfully found that they
matched the doorknob.
She missed her sister who was born with
mirrored eyes, and would cheer her up by
saying, Look into my eyes. We match!
(First Published in MadHat Lit, Winter 2015)
Featured Image: From No. 6 Store’s spring 2010 Lookbook– http://www.refinery29.com/no-6-matches-their-clothes-to-their-backgrounds-in-their-spring-2010-lookbook