It’s only a photograph he said
as he pointed his old bellows camera my way,
a glimpse in time, a split second of your life
captured and kept while the other moments are lost.
I am not comfortable in front of cameras.
I am more at ease seeing
than being seen.
I long ago tired
of the judgment of eyes I never see face to face,
but only in passing, only in a moment,
eyes that never see the whole, and are not interested
except the lurid capture of a stranger.
It is, I know, an unfair thing,
for I too am a thief of moments,
a collector of them,
less interested in the image than the spark
behind the eyes,
lest interested in the picture
than the story.
He takes the picture.
And there I am. My face: simple, plain, bald-headed
with a half smile on it.
My eyes are slightly rheumy with cold.
I look old, but happy. That will do.
Nothing revealed but the simple truth
of my ordinariness, no lies or imagination