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.