william sutton’s saint sebastian

After William A Sutton’s Saint Sebastian, 1951

your friend in his
immaculate white rugby shorts

supple back on full display

and let’s not forget about
the arrows……..

quills quivering downward like
he was shot from below

i hesitate to sit on the bench
and look up at him
in case someone mistakes me for
a heterosexual woman….

it’s an exhibit about masculinity
after all muscles everywhere

and tenderness bleeding slowly
behind cordons

canterbury clouds curl around
him hip to supplicating wrists
and hold him there

i take a selfie that night
face out of view

flexing but not really flexing
wrists crossed behind my
canted head……

three months on testosterone
my riverbed spine

my willing flesh yields just like his

Featured art by kī anthony inspired by the original artwork. A catalogued version of this painting can be seen on page 52 of this retrospective text from the Christchurch Art Gallery.


In a dream, you saw a way to survive, and you were filled with joy.


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