Are you looking at me?
What do you see?
Lipstick, kohl, they slash
and burn my too pink flesh
into the canvas of your eyes.
Stiffly the white ribbons in my hair,
flag no naked surrender,
even while I cage my modesty
behind lank arms yet to feather into elegance.
For I am not yours,
not suckling meat, not a party favour;
neither a bud nor a buddy.
You shall not cross the line –
I will it so,
even as my fresh skin quivers from
the cold flicker of your connoisseur’s gaze.
Turn away your cloudy eyes,
with their mucky, mustard reflection,
for it is my time to stretch and grow
beyond the acid angles of this too tight frame,
to possess the world your ochre-tainted fingers
are too slow to grasp.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1909-10