John Oakes circa 1905 (a photograph)


Eyes to lens

he looks

from the photo

seeming to look

all the way along time.


Sees his own death

filtered there

in the moon

of the photographer’s

box, the hooded man

crouching in

the dark of the future.


At once his eyes are

alive with love;

all those possibilities

that open and close

so many valves,


he feels his heart

battering there

the small pansy

she picked him

cooling in his



He is as sad

to seem pleased

as he stares ahead

remembering some

small pleasure

like choosing the

dapper tie

and his daughter’s fine hands

straightening  his stiff collar.


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