“Recycling Pornography” by Stephanie Lenox

Stephanie Lenox


In the bin beneath weeks of Time
I find her, giddy as a student
in yearbook photo, showing off
her odd trick. Legs pinned
behind ears, she grins in white
lace, almost lovely, almost graceful
below a neon title and date?
as if it could be different
each month, wilder contortions,
a new secret message spelled out
in limbs and lips. How tedious
it must be to sit like that
while the camera searches
day after day for a fresh angle,
eyes begging to see more.
It’s her flexibility that surprises me,
how easily the legs fold back.
She is a white wishbone, a horseshoe,
a charm of glossy flesh. Her eyes
tell me she does not care who I am.
She is not a textbook or footnote.
Spread-eagle across the page
each woman refuses to be overlooked.
I need to understand this desire?
to stretch it out, until it too becomes
severely ordinary. What new use
can I make of this? I do not want to
unhinge her legs. Show me, I ask
her teetering form, what more
can be done. Spread it out before
me. I will not turn away.
Show me something still frightening
or so beautiful it will shock me again.

from Rattle #21, Summer 2004

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