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How to Use a Single-Lens Reflex

by Mary Quade

The camera, slumberless, cannot shut out
its visions. Even resting in your palm,
lens cap on, it beholds the numb black.
Without you, it forgets—all
oblivion. You are the mnemonic,
the trick of recall.
                                      The body
is a dark hallway the mind
winds through. A door briefly blinks, and the film,
enlightened, moves on in darkness.
                                                                          I notice the invisible
worries you. You want
to pop the body open, study
flesh as ghost.
you can’t. The darkness carries
                                                                 without gestation.
What you saw stays what you saw,
and, like any dream, is damaged
by brilliant awakening.


Mary Quade’s collection Guide to Native Beasts won the 2003 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. For a number of years, she was a high school photography teacher in Portland, Oregon. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio. (10/2005)

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