Mini Issue Work

Museum Art I

By Caroline Wolff
I am like museum art,
meant only to be looked upon from afar,
but never touched.

Because I am one-of-a-kind,
priceless, regal;
I am 4 feet 8 inches of crystalline,
multi-million dollar masterpiece,
and boy,
you are not worthy of my touch,
not even my glance.

Boy, you are not worthy of running your hands
over this skin or through this hair.
These pigments are a privilege.
I was crafted by God in His most divine sunlight,
and curated in His most divine moonlight.

These collarbones and shoulder blades 
rise and fall in immaculate synchronicity
like marble molded by Michelangelo.
The best angle to view me from--
to cherish me from--
is on your knees.

Some days, I am abstract acrylic,
cross-hatched charcoal,
newspaper clippings collage,
rough around the edges;
and other days, I am clean, pristine ceramic,
necklaced with gold and jewel-encrusted,
polished porcelain, I’ve got my shit together.
Regardless, I am always me,
and you don’t get to tell me who to be, boy.
All you get to do is admire me;
Peek into my gallery but you don’t get to step inside, boy.
No photographs, please,
and now it’s time for you to leave, boy.

Museum Art II

I am like museum art,
meant only to be looked upon from afar,
but never touched.

Because I have walls built up around me, tall and strong.
I exist in a glass case laced with trust issues and irrational fear,
and reaffirmations of the solace that exists within self-seclusion.

I have convinced myself that it is better to be alone with my thoughts--
to let them intrude on me in every possible way--
than to risk being scrutinized or judged or harmed for expressing them.
But then again, I’ll never know for sure
since you are required to stand behind the red line.

All I know is that my body is laden with marks,
and not the artful kind--
not the vibrant tempera paint splattered across white canvas;
not the painstakingly delicate handiwork of a calligrapher--
but the kind that swell and ache;
the kind that are irreparable and ugly and make other people 
wince and grit their teeth as if they can feel the pain like I can.
These marks are the kind that make people run in the other direction,
and this self-encasement--
these long Friday nights spent draped in darkness and tangled in headphone cords,
scrolling through strobe light and solo cup and semblance of self-love on Instagram--
is the only thing I can think to do to keep from getting another one.

So, I’m sorry, but if you dare break down this glass,
you will be left with a mess.
Your hands will be stained with paint--
red like blood, blue like bruises--
and your heart will be stained with regret.
If you push me, test me, try to make me move too quickly,
you will go from a stranger to my sworn worst enemy.
So please,
just leave the gallery,
and don’t you dare touch me.

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