About the Gaze

"much has been written about the toxic nature of the gaze…the
unfair advantage of being the observer"
– Patricia Hampl

So Don’t stare, the mother snaps
at the child who doesn’t mean to reduce
this dwarf, that cleft face, those
conjoined twins to oddity.

Led to a field, she would seek a dozen
variations on the theme of daisy
and make a garland, would bury her nose
deep into orange bells of blooms

protruding from sinews of trumpet vine.
She would edge out the needs
of hummingbird and bee, never intending
to be greedy. Blame her not. Her fields

are city streets. She bears no sting. Don’t stare,
snaps the mother so the child stands still,
closes her eyes while against her lids wonder flutters-
imperiled, insistent, diaphanous-winged.

Liz Abrams-Morley’s collection, Necessary Turns, was published by Word Press in 2010 and won an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Small Press Publishing. Other collections include Learning to Calculate the Half Life (Zinka Press, 2001,) and What Winter Reveals (Plan B Press, 2005). Her poems and short stories have been published in a variety of national anthologies, journals and ezines, and have been read on NPR. Co-founder of Around the Block Writing Collaborative, (www.writearoundtheblock.org) Liz is on the MFA faculty of Rosemont College and writes with children in Philadelphia,
PA area schools.

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