untitled daguerreotype

By Sean J. Mahoney

Of all of the photos sealed under glass –

Marey’s body-suited man lined

with white tape, running;

the Rosenberg’s charmed emptiness;

the furred streetwalker singing

from just inside a simple, arched doorway

some cold night in New Orleans –

of all of these ektachromic radiances,

I’d say the rain pelted kisser

dashing past the theater marquee

affected in me an oblivion

that existed long before

the 19th century posed.

A silver coated copper plate, a term,

a metered definition

a figure becomes regal within.

Submerged, swimming through an orbit bath,

waiting to be bedded within

a frame covered by glass.

The moments of obfuscated glory

removed from the mothers and fathers

of napalmed girls

and executioner song.

Wretched flash powders and emulsifiers:

            there’s a shot here


a pariah of too many bad angles,

looking for a bite to eat

as though it is still life.

Clicked across a roll of film,

tonged tray to tray, washed and rinsed,

saturated, hung, laid

within a plated frame

and covered by a plane of glass.

Convince me, somehow,

that this support is Mercy.

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