At the gallery, a visitor remarks
that my painting of a pen
looks quite phallic:
the lines shown scribbling out
from underneath the nib
obviously a reference to pubic hair.

How could you not
make the connection, she insists.
I want to buy her a shovel or
extend an invitation to
dig in her own dirt.
All I see is pen. And ink.

Instead, I curtain my
face and flip through
memory’s catalogue for
instructions or suggestions
on how to validate
different ways of seeing.

Jean Eng is a visual artist and writer from Toronto, Ontario. Her writing has appeared in journals across Canada. They include Canadian Literature, Contemporary Verse 2, The Dalhousie Review, The Nashwaak Review, The New Quarterly, Room of One’s Own, and WomenArts Quarterly (U.S.). Her paintings have been exhibited in Canada, the U.S. and Japan. They are also housed in several private collections as well as the Government of Ontario. She also works as a library technician at the University of Toronto.

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