by Bill Richard

like any other object, she said.
Don’t worry. They’ll observe you as they would
a vase or a tree.
A series of angles, planes, light, and shadow.

I’m okay offering myself for scrutiny,
step warily onto the platform,
letting inhibitions slip to the floor along with my robe.
I assume a pose, let my body be measured by those
who peer at me with squinted eye and extended arm.

I’m fine with them examining up close
or slowly circling to see me in 3-D.
I am servant
submitting myself as raw material for art.
Banish concern about hernia scar, paunch,
or private parts made public.

At break, even robed, I am still object,
subject of sidelong glances
or none at all.

I step back onto the platform,
in the center and elevated.
A man whose expressionless face belies
an ache in the supporting foot.
A person pulsing with feeling and thought.

I tune out their conversations,
look past and through the artists,
concoct recipes,
organize to-do lists,
compose poems in my mind.

And know that from the captivity
of this pedestal emanates the gentlest

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