by Sara Backer


A young man named Victor calls me Miss

and leads me to the small room

set up to film my closeups.


My task is to let his clean dark hands

arrange my head and chin, and tilt my nose

as he measures and marks the green wall.


We are so close: our breaths overlap,

separated only by the code of our profession.

Can you hold that? I can.


He starts to shoot. Good. Good. You’re doing fine.

Fantastic. One more—wonderful. You can relax, now.

We repeat for three more poses.


I pick up my sweater and bottle of water, thank him,

and tell him he’ll go far in Hollywood. He’s not sure

if he should laugh. He offers to escort me


to the lobby, but I know this hospital

inside and out. I could walk from Radiology

to the parking lot with my eyes shut.


And I do shut my eyes in the pale green corridor:

wanting to find out if I can sense the corners coming,

not wanting to see what lies ahead.