Admit for a moment that you feel the pictures
others have formed of you, how they slide across you
as you are regarded by them. Admit that the gap
between their seeing and your surfaces grates
quietly against you, that drawing the curtains
comes as a relief. Imagine what it is like
with no curtains to close, no busyness to distract,
no gaze to shift away. Imagine the regard
of creatures who cannot think of you except
in terms they use as titles for paintings:
“Hills and Trees,” “Beach at Sunset.”
I remember the first intimation of paysage
in a Fleming’s eye. Never to be seen,
but as green and brown splotches,
yellow and blue planes arranged in space.
Beneath, another seeing, one so hungry
it cannot be acknowledged—must be held
in check by the girders of composition.
You rupturable beings, you think surface
is everything. The more you shun
your mothers, your lovers, the more I chafe
under the imagined outlines of your breasts,
buttocks, bellies, limbs.
I just want to be left alone
with my diluvian thoughts.
You are wearing me down
faster than erosion ever could.