Your Feet in the Shoe Store Mirror
William Winfield Wright

Having stopped time
with the invention of the camera,
it is perfectly reasonable
that early photographers would want
to start it up again
with moving pictures,
stills turned to motion before a lamp,
the world in sequence, scene following scene,
until we find ourselves crying out
at the presence of an oncoming train,
marveling at how horses run
with all their legs off of the ground,
laughing to see little children eating porridge
or tormenting the gardeners of Lyon,
the whole apparatus of our understanding
translated into pictures and their memory.

It is a simple trick of the eyes
to make of rapid blinking
a silent movie of all we see,
our neighbors becoming imperiled
heroines and dangling comics,
everyone a Keystone Kop,
everyone a go-go dancer,
simple to take 10000 pictures
of the view from across the breakfast table,
a time-lapse of your walk from the sink,
the long exposure in the dark summer
night of the whole zodiac,
the glimpse of something permanent in your face.

It is not just from dissatisfaction
that having fixed ourselves into
photographs and then envelopes
we would want to make ourselves
whole again and moving.
The photograph of your feet
in the shoe store mirror promises
that there’s a rest of you somewhere.
You turn into a snapshot of your left ear
or the insides of my eyelids
when we are kissing and then back
into yourself when we pull apart.
You shrink to the size of your voice
on the phone and then grow into
all the everyday things I do after we hang up.
That one long month you were as big
as the city of London, including the sky.

I promise myself next time
you send pictures to wait and look
at one each day instead of all at once,
to carry favorites into restaurants,
hold them up to the original in bed
and say, “Here, make this smile and all
the faces and disobedient hair that come after.”


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