The flying buttress of the body,
transforming shirt or coat into architecture.
The body’s fabulous rampart
from which a small child takes in
the expanse of the world. The blunt
brow of the torso— obdurate, dense
obtuse and self-effacing it is
nonetheless capable of an astonishing
range and subtlety of expression: the seductive
flex and lift of the come hither,a shrug
of resignation, impunity or indifference.
In defeat, slumped, or in victory
hoisted in a flash pride. In the bestiary
of the body it is the ox, the bull, the draft horse,
assuming both those spiritual and temporal
burdens unsuited to the slight and delicate
birds of the hands. Carpenter’s square, tool
of the shipwright, battering ram splintering
locked doors in a fit of passion, the shoulder
retains a bewildering seductiveness and guile,
allowing an evening gown to descend
like tapestry, revealing the shoulders
like new moons and cupping the airy shadow
at the clavicle. Rarely erotic until just slightly
revealed, its relation to the rest of the body
is subtle and infinite, echoing
the bent knee, crooked elbow,
delicious arc of buttock or hip
and suggesting the body’s numerous frontiers.
And then to descend: down the shadowy
slope of the back, down the spiral staircase
to where the harped-shaped blades
assert a beguiling prominence
reminding the bewitched observer
of a time when we had wings.
Photo: Jonny Linder, "Comfreak." Pixabay.