Her gaze is slightly off-center
as she stares
at an unknown landscape.
Only I can wonder.
 
Long black hair
reaches down past
her average sized breasts
covered by a white shirt
and a black vest.
 
She hides her innocence from me.
But I know she’s guilty,
or, well,
I imagine it to be.
 
Truly, she doesn’t exist
if I can never see her,
touch her,
trace my fingers
down her legs
or smell her hair.
 
Just a frozen image in time
for me to ponder over.
 
The rest of the picture is
hard to describe
if only because it’s so
ordinary.
The girl sits next
to a woman holding
a sleeping baby
and a newspaper,
reading some news story.
The wall behind them is
fair white with two
blue streaks
that have no
particular significance
or meaning.
The floor seems to be
marble bound,
perhaps tile?
A bit of a mystery
as I struggle to discern
the color and texture
of that undecorated ground...
 
It has now been five minutes since
I started looking at this photo.
And new details begin
to emerge
as I continue
to be thorough.
 
Like the girl’s dark green bracelet
and …
wedding ring?
Or, perhaps even deadlier,
a purity ring.
 
Those details
cease to matter to me,
as I stare at the
ruby red
lipstick
that coats
her lips
and the
midnight black
mascara
that disguises
her eyes
and her feminine
nose that
evens out
her delicate face.
I notice the hair
on the sides
of her head
is blown back,
most likely
caused by
the blow drier
that she
expertly
took advantage of
in her dimly lit
bathroom
at five in the morning
through which
she
worked on
her
image,
for about an hour.
 
And then I realize that
the girl I’ve been studying
was suffering
from the condition
known as
having a life.
A secret life.
One that I will never know.
Nor will I ever know
the thought
that paced through
her mind
as she
relieved her eyes
from the recent
flash
of the
smoking camera.

(2015)

8/26/15

Photo, Still Image, Girl, Desire

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