A Painting of Pan

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 27 1996 3:30 AM

A Painting of Pan

("He who feeds")

To hear the poet read "A Painting of Pan," click here or on the title.

I wasn't afraid of the painting of Pan
mounting the nymph from behind, seizing her.
I wasn't afraid of crossing the room
to study it, under the burning chandelier.

But when I saw the god's animal eyes--
glittering, heedless, intent--
and how the girl looked back at him
with a half-curious, half-panicky stare

I remembered how you looked at me
across the reeling party that night
and how, later, when I touched your arm
something flickered on your face--

open and feral, frank. A hunted look.
A kind of tenderness toward the hunter.
A perception of everything sordid
that was going to happen between us.

Look at me, I said later in bed,
and you looked up with my wet food
smeared across your parted lips
and I saw it flickering again--

that creature trapped in your eyes,
that tenderness toward the predator
I'd become, one who feeds off others,
that look of haunted recognition.

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