April 1, 2008
Here is a blank roll of film
Completely black from some error
Or another during the development.
All pictures that would have been
Destroyed forever.
No one will ever know
What scenes they held, what stories.

The photograph of a little girl
Her once pretty shoes clacking together
Sitting on a wall and looking
Right into the camera, smiling,
Not yet thinking of the dangers of pictures;
Not yet realizing that they can last longer
Than their subjects.

Or rather,
A couple, sitting quietly on a bench,
Smiling into a camera but distractedly
For they are really thinking of the sunset behind
The trees darkened to black shadows
Against the sky, and the warmth of the other’s body
And them knowing that they didn’t need a picture
For them to remember that warmth.

Or maybe it was neither, and simply
Was never a picture at all, was never taken.
Perhaps this film was always blank,
Had never seen light enough for it to leave
A visible mark. And, when at last it was opened
To light, the film was burned black—
Burned, like us, as it was born.

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