Laure-Anne Bosselaar: Man at the Museum of Modern Art
Whose name will be on his lips when he dies?
Whose body (weight, skin, fervors of it)
will he remember? Who was his first ugliness?
What his first treason?
He won’t stop walking, doesn’t look at anything,
wanders from room to escalator,
hall to other space — for an hour now —
carrying that plastic bag, a thick hardcover
askew in it. Why do I follow him — what
is it that makes me do that, often, in streets or
subways even, getting off before my stop
to follow a man, woman, couple?
Yesterday, on a park bench — they spoke
a language I didn’t understand — I listened
long to the plucked, hushed vowels of two
women, their voices so drained I felt
hatred for something I couldn’t name —
& still can’t? It wasn’t life or fate or —
But this man today, with his knitted scarf
& polished shoes in this insufferably
civilized place — it’s Larry I see, Larry
Levis: the casual gestures, that staring-
beyond in his gaze, the head always tilted
back or away too much. I would have stalked
him too from subway to street, bench to bus,
wanting answers then turning away.
What else can I do but turn away
as I did from my own first ugliness,
hiding my face in my arm to stop seeing
Hannah’s hurt — we were only six &
I was already evil. I won’t forget her,
Hannah the hare-lip.
How horror stalks us — as desire does,
love or hunger. What answers do I
want from this man lost in a Museum?
Whose name will be on my lips when I die?
Whose stalker am I but my own?
Copyright 2019 Laure-Anne Bosselaar