WHO IS THE MAN
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.
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.
Thanks, Caren. I really don’t know where the photo was taken. I can guess, but I’m not sure.
Love the speculation here, Helen. That it’s ekphrasic only adds to the wonderment. How can we ever know who somebody really is. Brava.
Thanks, Karla. I always try to add something beyond the visible an ekphrastic poem.
I love this, Helen.
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.
I think you are right, Patricia. We only tell what we want known. (Even about someone else). 🙂
I enjoyed this, Helen, particularly the mystery.
Thanks, Robert. That’s the joy of writing ekphrasic poems. You just never know.
Really enjoyed your poem Helen.
Thank you, Betty.
I think we’re drawn in by the sense of wonder at who this pale, hairy creature really is.
Thanks, Doug. “This pale, hairy creature” made me smile.