An Audience

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Glimpse, by Joyce Polance

How to reap the mercurial moment, lay there maybe
for hours and let them do it
whatever they want to you
having given them yourself
the tools for your pleasure and torture. What rattles
when you spin the empty chamber, the unmistakable
sound of a coin. One man in particular
he starts off shy at the edges of the room
while the others are busy with honey,
playful, innocent almost, some of it gets in your mouth and nose.
They tickle your toes with the rose petals. He edges closer.
Bread and wine. You wanted to see what’s installed
in the part of the imagination where the light switch is here somewhere
I know it. How big is the room.

He doesn’t touch her breasts like you’d expect.
He touches her stomach,
like he’s testing it. This is what she didn’t have to ask for,
the horror of human ingenuity. He removes one thorn
from the rose and pushes it inside her until
it disappears. He removes all the thorns. He takes all of
his time. All the point of it is disappearing. How now
to make it stop. Say hello.

Author: Brian Russell

Brian Russell is the author of The Year of What Now (Graywolf). His poems have appeared most recently in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, cream city review, and Pleiades.