On Seeing And Being Seen

By Ama Codjoe

I don’t like being photographed. When we kissed
at a wedding, the night grew long and luminous.
You unhooked my bra. A photograph
passes for proof, Sontag says, that a given thing
has happened. Or you leaned back to watch
as I eased the straps from my shoulders.
Hooks and eyes. Right now, my breasts
are too tender to be touched. Their breasts
were horrifying, Elizabeth Bishop writes. Tell her
someone wanted to touch them. I am touching
the photograph of my last seduction. It is as slick
as a magazine page, as dark as a street
darkened by rain. When I want to remember
something beautiful, instead of taking
a photograph, I close my eyes.
I watched as you covered my nipple
with your mouth. Desire made you
beautiful. I closed my eyes.
Tonight, I am alone in my tenderness.
There is nothing in my hand except a certain
grasping. In my mind’s eye, I am
stroking your hair with damp fingertips. This is exactly
how it happened. On the lit-up hotel bed,
I remember thinking, My body is a lens
I can look through with my mind.