Lesson by Sophie Klahr


Something about the quality of her tears, you said,
to explain how you knew
the friend who wept in your arms
knew her husband to be having an affair.
In class, I draw a man dragging another man
on a leash. I say the background
in this photograph is blurred—
The light’s dim     Nothing’s recognizable.
I ask my students what they feel, seeing this—
they search my face for the right answer.
Multiple choice: Pity?
Guilt? Nothing?
I let the camera zoom out, draw,
around the men, a stage—
grand curtains framing
the scene, an audience in silhouette.
I ask, Is this different?
Try to imagine,
you said,
how I felt.     You said,
That’s how the corpse of the deer is
consumed by maggots:
first the asshole, tongued
by dozens of tiny mouths.


Sophie Klahr’s poems, essays and reviews appear in Ploughshares, The Rumpus, Gulf Coast, B O D Y, Sycamore Review, Linebreak, and other publications. She is the author of the chapbook ________ Versus Recovery (Pilot Books), and is a contributing editor at Gigantic Sequins. She lives in Los Angeles.