Not magnificent under my gaze,
he didn’t think, as for two reels
he watched her, drenched in silk
and opera-rich taffeta in colors
one doesn’t picture with that hair and optimistic nose,
as she didn’t play a scene in what was not a film,

though true she did not film
poorly, did not fail to use what was not a candid gaze,
eyes not cutting to her left nor nose
tilted at wrong angles, not forgetting to color
at the right moment, never not hearing the reels
flap beneath her own voice, which was not like silk

but was not unmindful of silk;
and she remembered, always, to leave a film
on her words, which were not off-color,
exactly, though true her gaze
could get them that way, really
close to what he knows

she might mean. She doesn’t think of a nosy
neighbor she once had who peered at her silken
personals as they hung to dry, reeling
at their softness. She allows a filmy
thought. She clouds her gaze,
apprehends a certain color.

“‘Tippi,’” he never tells her, "it’s a Technicolor
afterlife, the breasts, arms, noses
of the dead embroidered on scraps of film
and stitched loosely to a silk
screen. Filming
doesn’t start for months, but these reels

of your convince me of the real
you and me both. Color
me British, but when this film,"
and so on. Who knows
what shade of silk underlies her silk?
Even the gays can’t say.

And his own filmy gaze,
which he doesn’t know isn’t real,
fell on us like colorless silk.