Someone must sit for me, for I can’t pose
My riddles to a plaster god,
One of those studio Apollos,
A paradigm too Greek to grapple with.
Imaginings must feed
Upon a blemish in the gaze,
Follow the misdirections of the brow,
Thrive on the dissonance of chin and cheek.
There must be something there that’s almost mine,
Its nature specified by whether nose
Is pug, or African, or aquiline.
Ready for fleshing from the loaded brush,
The lip should be a wish
That’s picturable in private, the orange spot
In my Corot, the apricot
In fields of green.
As for the rest,
O you who pose while I predict,
Your ears have touched me far beyond the act
Of touching. They deflect,
Waiting like pets to be caressed.
(from “The Shape of an Ear”, a collection of poems by Elliott Zuckerman, 2002.)