Helen Losse, Who Is the Man

Helen Losse

who appears

stretched out on an air mattress,
pictured near the water’s edge?

He’s wearing red swim trunks
and unisex shoes.

Perhaps the black circle beside him
is all that’s left

of his snorkeling mask. Perhaps
he dived deep in the sea.

Or was he merely sent away
from a private fishing dock—

just a few yards away
on the rain-swollen Missouri—

by those who rebuked him for
demonstrating his over-the-top splash?

Perhaps he is a lonely man, too pale,
too hairy for proper ladies.

Or is he the life of the party (perhaps
in spite of himself)

and just catching a brief breather
before his inevitable fun continues?

Who is the man who chose the sun
when shade is nearby,

whose skin indicates,
he doesn’t sunbathe often?

Author’s Comment: “Who is the man” is an ekphrasic poem describing a photo of one of the Dead Mule editor’s “ex-relatives” that she posted for a while on the Mule’s FB page. I pretty much described what I saw and have probably said more than enough already.

Bio: Helen Losse is the author of two full length poetry books and three chapbooks. Her poems have been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and three times for a Best of the Net award.

14 thoughts on “Helen Losse, Who Is the Man

  1. This poem really piqued my curiosity both about the man and about the photo. I also liked that it was a place poem that reminded me of rivers I have known.

  2. To me it’s about our public face / private space. We can know someone, but do we really? we only know as much as we see or they tell us. Our “true” self is kept away from prying eyes. Nice work, Helen.

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