'Eyes' by Paul Hetherington | States of Poetry ACT - Series One

for BL
(from 'Paintings')


A hundred eyes
examine me like an insect,
red and yellow like fear.
What walks about me
in dirty boots, holding my ideas
ridiculous? Whose face
visits restless nights,
threatening to blank my dreams –
a near-perfect oval and no-colour;
obliteration like a smile?
The painting becomes a murder
of Aztec nobility in the Temple
and time droning
through aeons of absence,
away from a ripe papaya
lined with a hundred black eyes,
delicate and full as prayer.
The painting folds back into wind.
Brushes, palette knife,
insouciant pigments
vanish into drawers;
the painting becomes the green
of your scarf;
its future tucked
out of sight. It nods
and a hundred eyes blink.
There is nowhere
that doesn’t watch me.


Paul Hetherington