At the bookstore in Pedro
he approaches us, asks,
may I take pictures
while you are reading?
We think, Press? Reviewer?
Poet stalker? Freak?
He looks harmless enough.
We ask, where will they end up?
Oh, you know, he says, nowhere,
they may sit, undeveloped.
We are dubious. We donít encourage him.
When we read, we hold our heads down
as he peers through the eyepiece,
we donít smile, donít articulate
in his direction, but wonder
if they are black and white
and if our noses are shining.
At the end of the evening,
as we try to escape,
he corners us,
asks for headshots. Together,
we insist, pulling close, as women do.
Closer, he says, and it is then
we feel it, resent being captured
in the black box he will take home with him.
This is the one I shot Ginsberg with,
he says, the zoomlens pulsing
towards us, heavy in his eager, guiding hand.
We stiffen against each other,
control our laughter or anger.
We think of the words of our poems
swirling through his head:
vagina, breast, one large ball;
we wonder what heíll do with them.

Hayley R. Mitchell
© 1997

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