The only physics lesson I ever enjoyed –
copying a diagram of that camera,
with sharp 2B beams of ruler-drawn light
from the top and toe of a stickman, crossing
precisely at the aperture, to invert his image
on the back of the light-proof box: a shrunken
upside-down hangman waiting to be born.
Freaks, the film with the circus performer
Schlitzie, born with microcephaly,
who didn’t need prosthetic makeup
to horrify audiences, ran in a nightmare reel.
So I told myself not to lose the plot:
the pinheads are the goodies,
the normal people are the baddies.
John Travolta, fresh from Grease,
carefully removed from Jackie magazine –
the centre spread de-stapled to excise
any glint of steel, pinned up
to look down from my bedroom wall:
a man who would always have gorgeous hair,
an image worth protecting, worth projecting.
My first proper boyfriend liked porn.
He had a trunk full of magazines in the corner
of the bedroom which he kept locked.
Once he cried about his addiction –
but he told me about his fantasy:
the woman he pinned down in the dark,
her physical dimensions shrunken to a pinhole.