“The Un-knowing” by Candice Rosales


The wise one with the green cat eyes-
those unblinking, sworn-to-secrecy witnesses
to our transgressions
our daring,
our shame,
our brushes with nobility,
our persistent failure to not love –
mentioned to me in passing,
in the course of conversation,
in the coffee-swilling chill of morning,
in the virtuous snow-cone of silence,
in the dejected gray of an endless winter,
that once you know something, you can’t un-know it!
It was a warning, rung out clear in my grandmother’s
mournful mid-century kitchen with the sad peeling wallpaper
and mismatched place settings.
We cannot suspend the arrival of truth.
We cannot defer the costs of self-deception.
We cannot delay our hour of reckoning.
We cannot recalculate our undoing.
I nodded in agreement,
in feigned understanding-
as fake as grandma’s tea set,
as flimsy as her sheer curtains,
as shallow as her kitchen sink,
as broken as her dishwasher.

I have worked at un-knowing.
I am practiced at un-feeling.
I am skilled at un-acknowledging.
I am accomplished at un-seeing.
If I ignore it, it will go away.
If it goes away, it will stay away.
If it stays away, it’s the same as gone.
If its gone, it’s as though it never was.
Except that green cat eyes saw everything

Candice Rosales

All Rights Reserved

© 2010



  1. lkthayer · February 12, 2010

    Candice, this is exceptional…Bravo. i hope you like the image I squeezed…tour de force! LK 🙂

  2. Julie · February 12, 2010

    The image and the poem are first rate. You hit a home run here, Candice.


  3. Lordy · February 12, 2010

    Great peace of writing….But just maybe there are two poems here rather than one!!………. Fantastic photo!!

  4. vicki bjornson · February 13, 2010

    each time i read it, i love it more. spectacular! i loved hearing you read but now i can cherish the words in print and whenever i want

  5. candice Rosales · February 13, 2010

    Thank you guys so much! Lisa I knew you would come up with the perfect image but this is beyond beyond – I just absolutely love it.

    Thank you!

  6. lkthayer · February 13, 2010

    Your poem inspired the photo search…I was going perhaps with a tea set, but this was brilliant…It had to go with your brilliant piece! So happy you’re happy! 🙂

  7. Alexis Rhone Fancher · February 13, 2010

    “We cannot suspend the arrival of truth.
    We cannot defer the costs of self-deception.
    We cannot delay our hour of reckoning.
    We cannot recalculate our undoing.” Perfect, Candice. Absolutely Perfect!

  8. nicolerigets · February 13, 2010

    The cat’s-eye crystal ball sees all.

    Two chapters of one poem wrenching us, as they amplify each other.

    Thank-you Candice

  9. Adesh Kaur · February 18, 2010

    Candice, This poem kills me with its clarity. “Except that green cat eyes saw everything.” I especially love the descriptions of your grandmother’s kitchen and how you compared yourself to that. All applause.

  10. jessica · May 30, 2010

    I am weeping. I am so proud of you! To see your work displayed….Keep writing…and huge kudos for the graphic image that represents the work. It is magnificient.

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