For obvious reasons the first rule in any art gallery
or museum is don’t touch the art
even if the works seem to be behind glass

Is that really glass he asks the guard
we’ve never seen that before and we’ve been
to the Louvre in Paris and the Guggenheim in New York

Yes the guard says folding his arms across his chest.
It’s expensive but we had to do it
there’s a 1/8th inch space

Between the glass and the painted surface
especially critical if we ship them—
wow so that really is glass he interrupts

Suddenly reaching out tapping the glass with his finger
of course he knows he shouldn’t
be touching the art in any way but seriously

The guard is standing right next to the painting
talking to him how the hell
could he not tap the glass!



Michael Estabrook has been publishing his poetry in the small press since the 1980s. He has published over 20 collections, a recent one being The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany (The Poetry Box, 2019).