Poem: Captive

Bedlam - Georges camera.jpg

Captive

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
in anything

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
needed.

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