One Poem by James Bell

hands in the clouds

one day I had to photograph
a woman without a face though
one that resembled a face with eyes
still able to express feelings
the only parts unreconstructed by
a wild impasto of the plastic surgeon’s art –
we discussed her pose for a passport
yet had no discussion on how her situation
came about or where this black and white
photo would take her – she smiled with difficulty –
complied with what needed to be done –
I sensed in her familiarity with performance
how this image was only official
not a gift for a lover to go in a frame
and how she knew there might never be
a special caress for this same face
unless it became different by some new art
that exerted a fresh transformation – it took
only a minute a long time ago –
afterwards it was also
the first time I climbed to the top of a hill
and stuck my hands in the clouds to be cleaned
in their unearthly texture and tried to gain
a semblance of meaning from what
I had seen – have found since that life
can often be difficult on clear days


James Bell – returned to writing poetry over twenty years ago and has not yet left. He is a regular contributor to Nine Muses’ Special Challenges.

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