Watch Where You Point That Thing


Her body presents itself, the product of her life. A life which happens to involve a body, but does not require the obsessive presentation of body; body concentrated so heavily in the top layer that it slithers off in dark moments alone. She is anchored to her chair, planted on the grass in front of the fake backdrop.

Her body presents itself, product of a life; but she does not look as though she inhabits anything from the neck down. The body sits there, imponderable. What is it to her?

The answer is in the gun. Her body is in the gun, resting on her knees. She is playing a trick on us. She is pretending that she isn’t there, that she’s no threat; but that body is powerful. It can point to other bodies and hurt them. She doesn’t even need to grip the gun very tightly. It can dangle down, slightly, romantically, barely restrained from slipping down, a sly, slick message. Look at her innocent face.

This is called women’s ventriloquism of power.

God help me if I were ever loved for sending my body elsewhere, into other objects; into cooking, or a perfectly clean house, a top layer of muscle, accomplishments, or pages of text. God help me if someone ever loved me for polishing my body down into a layer of its meaning.

Love me for my gun, my cooking pot, my words and my insight, all shot, cooked, written and penetrated into my particular set of gut and muscle.

Give me a body that can stay planted and receive.


The above photograph, which is the inspiration for this poem, is borrowed from the series ‘Woman as Photography Model: Qajar Period”

1,640 Replies to “Watch Where You Point That Thing”

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