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2 poems by Ace Boggess


Curve of body posed, bare, black & white,

male maybe—hard to tell, headless, rearview,

shaped like an acrylic of a wave.

Body with its needs, desires you can’t know

from your vantage hovering above a screen.

How does one subjectify an image? Beautiful,

you say, as after a glimpse of a summer dress

or flashy Jaguar passing. What do

aesthetics reveal about inner wants

of the model? Still alive, you assume

based on date of posting—a likelihood

not always true. You’ve seen nudes

shot generations back, figures precise

as if continuing to pose for the leer

of a tintype, their passions, past tense,

in permanence of page & internet archive,

residue of immortality. As for yours, the flush

fades in a flutter: storm wind, lighting, calm.


We stumble through tangles,

fall backward hopping to free our feet from jeans

binding like leg irons while another prisoner

does the same, straining for immediate release:

most difficult art.

There should be seminars, seminal texts,

homework, an MFA in disrobing before sex.

It’s so ridiculous the things we have to do

to do those other things with others

while skin is a tree hole full of squirrels

poking heads into daylight, testing air

for the thumping downbeat of an eagle’s wings.


Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021) and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.


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