This is how I keep you: a glossy print placed between
the world I have known and the world I will know. Six
inches tall, four inches wide. You stand before the
lens in jeans and a black pullover. Your right hand
grabs your left wrist, both arms diving down to a V in
front of you. Head turned to the side so it's
impossible for me to remember whether the shy smile
crossing your face like a late afternoon shadow was
meant for me or expressed the awkwardness you felt
when I insisted you hold still.
"I'm right here," you said. You twisted and untwisted
the rubber band looped twice around your wrist. The
light bulb left a hot white stain on your cheek.
"I might forget you," I said, my camera aimed at you.
"How? I'm looking at you." At that moment, this was
"But when you're gone..." I didn't finish. The best
photographers take their subjects by surprise. I
waited until you started to relax then pressed the
You turned your head back to me, your eyes wet.
Giving you what I hoped was a smile, I said, "In case
I don't see you again."
I never did see you again, but here you are, always
marking my place in a stranger's story. Your image
rests between my future and my past; I cannot move
forward again through time without looking upon your
First published: November, 2006
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