Anonymous Brothel Photo, 1885
Overexposure; light-wash. Even her fingers,
splayed in approximation of desire,
lose their singleness. Even the hair
that flares across her neck and shoulders singes
the too-receptive paper. The light changes
everything – her legs bent like a soldier
trampled in the field become tined spears
of lightning; a yoke of flame was once a string
of costume pearls. Who wouldn’t wish to be
refined this way, blessing, blessed with light,
unreal to any vision but the mind’s?
Then, sun might be a flicker of the sky
and not the flashpan’s overbearing white,
the skin’s cinched corset virtually unbound.
“Anonymous Brothel Photo, 1885” first appeared in Smartish Pace, Spring 2006.