The Mark

Rae Gouirand




Harriet Kelly had other plans

for her middle son (Gene) –

namely, the law. What else

for a boy who dared to ride


a tricycle missing handlebars

down Mellon Street, come home

with an iron beam’s swipe

under his cheek, fresh crescent


letting blood? What would she

have said at his shoots, his refusal

to airbrush the ridge left by

stitches, studio producers


worrying over their posters?

And he, turning that fine stroke

to the camera, what did he hope

we’d see? The mark of the sensitive


person, the Pittsburgh kid,

the mere physical result? I’ve

seen the films, his entrances into

rooms where tabletops gleam


for his tapped dash, stamps

streaking their length, swift checks

of time steps in a long address.

Shoes impressing their effects,


he’s always there in the center,

arms extended to everyone

in the room, grin imprinted,

digging his heels under the lights.