Friday, February 15, 2019

Fotografia (February 15, 2019)

My Husband Takes Some Photographs of Me
By Liz Rosenberg
It’s like coal in your stocking,
to open the yellow Kodak package
and find one dim disaster, then another; me
dead-faced and gloomy, almost invisible
with all my freckles gleaming like the Milky Way.
I opened the packet in the tiny back room
while he worked the register, the hum
of customers. He came and found me
sighing through the stack like a dismal fortune-teller:
No one could call this woman beautiful.

He took the photos from my hands
but hurried through them first
searching for--something; like the doctor
who fails to bring one life to light.
I knew he’d never let me see that face again,
fading around the mouth, the downward pull
so like her mother’s gravity.
The girl he’d courted was a meager ghost
who held still in the eyes while the other
woman moved and said Cheese.
I’d seen her sometimes limping toward me
in a plate glass window; I had glimpsed her in the bottom
of a mirror when I stumbled out of bed unwary.
My poor Columbus, what a ravaged country to discover!

He held my head, he held my arms, in bed,
in the darkness; then we beheld each other
aging, muscular, and mortal, smelling of life
wrapped in a warm sheet. His eyes caught the gold
from the hall, dark blue and gray-blue
as the door swung shut, till I was staring through a black hole
but still his face was turned to me, like a white flower,
his eyes a flash of light.
Then I was safe in his arms for an instant,
drifting off. My husband takes a photograph of me.

From Poetry Magazine, May, 1987

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