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.