The fashion shot ostensibly displays

a necklace made by a famous jeweler,

but the jewelry, only partially visible,

might be the last thing that the viewer notices

when opening up the double-page spread of the nude

young man reclining on a figured coverlet,

dark, curly head propped on an arm-supported

pillow, his brown eyes longing, his mouth revealing

frustration, whether with desire or merely

some petty disappointment not made clear.


The photographer having coaxed him into

a half roll from stomach to right side,

the model presents his body in pleasing curves,

from peak of shoulder slightly flexed, through gentle

slope down to lower back and then smooth rise

from slender hip to buttock, and underneath

the shadowed depression just hinting at unseen

genitalia, blue-inked old-school tattoo

just where inner thigh and abdomen

come together, a tree beside water.


Yes, I had forgotten; he wears a necklace,

a slender, unremarkable chain of gold.



Note: This poem responds to a photograph by Fabiola Zamora that appeared in the November 2013 issue of Out.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper


Young Native American

in dark-grey pinstripe jacket,

jeans and brown leather high tops,

piercings in his ears and nose,

luxuriant dark brown hair,

lots of jewelry–besides

the plugs in ears, curved bar in nose,

watch, rings, bracelets (one leather,

plain black; one colored fabric).

squared pendant, multi-hued with

dangling charms; on some it would

be too much, but he looks cool.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper