gallery visit

it’s a free day
cloudy and cold
and for something to do
the art gallery beckons

in this little town
the gallery is a badge of sorts
it stands for civic pride
and a claim towards a sophistication
otherwise largely invisible

at the entrance is a sculpted cow
they call this mooo-ving art
and have placed multi-coloured bovines
from parklands to streets

they even appear on hind legs
as players of football and various other sports
the alternative forms of cultural aspiration in town


the couple walks arm in arm
past the entry-cow
in through the foyer of aboriginal designs
motifs and objects

he stands close behind her
to see what she sees
rests his chin on her shoulder
while she leans her face to touch his
they share the same vision

they’re in a light mood
no matter the exhibit
ceramics or pottery
paintings on clean walls

he is taking oddly spaced steps
almost latin
but really just playing the fool
amused by his own happiness

she is nowhere to be seen



a shadow behind a pillar reveals her
peeping out
waiting to see if he’ll notice
or stay self-absorbed

eventually he sees her

they are holding hands
and their fingers are never still
they touch each other constantly
as though that sensation is a unique thing
a gift perhaps only they share

in front of the black-on-white
fired plates and pots
beneath the security camera
strategically positioned to see all
they embrace

there is art
within their gaze
to rival the more ostentatious displays
that surround them

now he is studying a small object
something terracotta
she is behind him
he shivers when he feels her breath
on his ear

she touches the lobe
with her tongue
and he half gasps
while she flits away
then he step-slides in slow pursuit

they kiss again
to conclude their tour
of the gallery

in early afternoon
they’re ready now
to go home

© Frank Prem, 2008
for Mrs B.


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