Excerpts > Summer 2002

Jay Rogoff
A Snapshot Is a Moment's Monument

A Snapshot is a Moment's Monument

It's all and not enough
holding you in my hand,
a piece of contraband
smuggled out of life:
this ancient photograph,
a bough, a magic wand,
a passport to a land
that moves me and can't move.

Can I rendezvous closer
with your teenaged face,
your smart mouth that displays
a fresh smirrk for your father
who spirits away your picture,
who's docked you in this pose
with sun dazzling your eyes?
Now smile - hold it - forever -
and here in a medium shot
your cardigan, white blouse,
and smile strain to disguise
desire lumped in your throat
thick as the muffler's knot
an anxious mother ties
to guard against your loss.
Relic of spent light,

adolescent ghost,
pale diamond that can cut
a heart or monument,
a shutter claps the past
behind your mouth's sly twist,
fleshy and celibate.
Holy counterfeit,
icon fresh as lust,

how can I understand
you standing in my hand?

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