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20| Upon Finding Online a “.jpg” Copy of the Newly Authenticated Portrait of Shakespeare by John Sanders

A.W. Strouse


I still can’t see his face that nature painted,
for how may oils master, express his passion?
How the photo of that painting? Not acquainted
with him are copied copied copies now in fashion.
Not onto warmth of living breast I snuggle,
but close, to the screen of my computer
where flat on flat makes flat; here depth must struggle
the globe into a circle. The suitor
of nature, the illusion that pursues her,
is made of her, consumes her; it falsifies:
the ghost of carbon's date may misconstrue her,
make her stale and flat, so she herself tells lies.
             Then why should I have need to see his visage?
             There is no truth if truth is but an image.

A.W. Strouse is a poet who studies medieval literature in the English doctoral program at the CUNY Graduate Center. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in various publications, and his book My Gay Middle Ages is forthcoming from Punctum. He co- operates and curates the Ferro Strouse Gallery. (,

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