Ava Gardner

I read once that Ava Gardner kept her face wrinkle-free
by stretching and clasping the hooks she’d sewn into
the back of her head.

This kind of beauty, I read, would be impossible today
because those hooks would be caught
by high-definition cameras.

Like hooked-Ava,
not Mogambo Ava (who could compare oneself to Mogambo Ava?),
I am not a high-definition beauty.

I am glorious by candlelight,
toned and lined and shaded, and stunning
in Polaroid, angled in profile, ripe from the rear.

But in high-definition (or in fluorescent),
I am terrifying, round eyed with awful
nostrils and feminine lips.

My chest is too large and
my shoulders too slim, and I worry that my eye skin
looks like foreskin.

So meet me after midnight under the gaslights on Drury Lane
and we’ll step into a candlelit pub and drink our fill.
You’ll look at me and think I’m the most beautiful boy you’ve ever seen.


Like Sharon Stone and the zipper, Mike McClelland is originally from Meadville, Pennsylvania. He has lived on five different continents but now resides in Georgia with his husband, son, and a menagerie of rescue dogs. His is the author of the short fiction collection Gay Zoo Day (Beautiful Dreamer Press, 2017) and his work has appeared publications such as the Boston Review, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Permafrost, and others. Keep up with him at magicmikewrites.com.

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