say someone stares at me for long enough am I allowed to snap a photo of their face taking me in | capture the capturing the cage of their gaze I nearly did today the man on the bench with a five o’clock shadow eyes that looked like punching was the only way he knew how to ask a question he looked and looked without smiling a face like stone like he was digging for the thing he was afraid of that someone other could do man as well as him with no chin hair to prove it his stare a shovel trying to root out the seed of what he recognised in me and I nearly swung the camera from behind my back how boxers swing arms round and into my hands nearly pressed the shutter button like the trigger of a bulletless gun the flash hitting his face like cold water or a fist to bring him back into his own body out of mine but really I just stared back at for a few seconds blank despite the ache in my chest1 all I could muster not actually knowing how to fight and not knowing if he knew I was not a threat and still in walking on I doubted what I had seen stopped myself turning back to check wondered if the metal glint of an arrow I glimpsed in his eyes was ever there at all if the photo I didn’t take would be proof of his distaste for my living his searching look a weapon formed against me or if in fact all the drama of disgust was mine alone a shard of imagination and the photo once looked at would show nothing but an open landscape of a face threat-less unperturbed by me invisible daytime ghost of gender and what if I had drawn in the hostility with my own crayon fear of men and what they see in me or what I long for in them
1 is this what he recognised?
i do not know
if i am eligible
if i am woman-identifying
The page you have requested is restricted to subscribers only. Please enter your username and password and click on 'Continue'.
If you have forgotten your username and password, please enter the email address you used when you joined. Your login
details will then be emailed to the address specified.
If you are already a member and have not received your login details, please email us,
including your name and address, and we will supply you with details of how to access the archived material.
If you are not a member and would like to enjoy the growing online archive of Stand Magazine
, containing poems, articles, prose and reviews,
why not subscribe
to the website today?