Tonight be vellum       a parchment of flesh bowed
in birthmarks and scratches the concave of
shoulder blades the arcs of hips   hands translucent
cold on any afternoon stomach held tight
your eyes clear cautious   aware that
to be a woman is to be watched
to be painted over and hung carelessly a portrait
taken away for dim galleries   for bathrooms
an illustration of the nativity of what can’t be owned

Let these men these children credit you as only
another canvas a sketchbook they’ll fill with
crude stick figures penciled in a rush who
dissect each other in angles one standing
one kneeling arms out   one crawling away

They will never imagine that you dance
under thunderheads can read their futures in
your mouth   or that you’ve torn out the last page
of every novel you’ve ever had   so after climax
the story is yours

Michael Wayne Hampton

Michael Wayne Hampton

Michael Wayne Hampton is the author of three books, and his work has appeared in numerous publications such as decomP, McSweeney's, and Atticus Review .
Michael Wayne Hampton

Latest posts by Michael Wayne Hampton (see all)