Janet McCann


         THE GAZE

you say, I’m just looking.

annoyance ghosts the salesgirl’s

practiced smile. well, call me if you want me.


looking at racks of silk dresses,

imagining them as filled with body: yours.

your body in green, tan, blue, all those yous

their gestures slightly different in each color.


I am just looking.

I came to look, not to touch,

to batten on the desire to own, but not to,

not to be disappointed in the fading,

not to take home.




the construction worker whistles

her pants off. phwee!

now there is the larger whistle whistling him off. where

do we go from here:


to desire to have the forbidden, to touch it,

to collect it, frame it, write your name on it.


look, look at the bird! an arc in air,

a bright swerve of red.

there is a cash register in space,

you pay, you are given the bird, the cloud, the river.

you say that only the blind are innocent.


a photograph is to have,

the experience lacquered.

here is a picture of a popsicle!

its runny slush congealed for aye

for eye. look where you’re going with that.


OK he says, I think

I am ready to check out now.

Copyright © 2002 Janet McCann.  All Rights Reserved.

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