Say Cheese

Click, tick, you were taken in early evening,
when afternoon is turning dark. The camera was set
[he did not bracket you] it had just rained.

You shared the roll with other images,
but you were developed, 5 shots, he was rushed.
The alley on the crates, “gone out for a cig,”
he had his usual alleluia-three-finger vodka,
she thought how an un-shot roll of film is really an empty thing
it smelled like spicy sausage, the special.

Click, tick he touched the button,
your image was inverted, recorded,
film ripped from one canister, rolled into another,
Developer, Stop, Fix, Rinse- you were agitated—
poured empty to dry.

Now you are negative,
a transparent map he reads like backward Braille
with a flashlight, your image hits the paper,
F8 for ten seconds. Anxiety is pure light.

You are passed into the bin, liquid yolk,
you float and rock, a headboard knocking
you come into focus
against cheap motel walls.

35mm + 2 dirty Martinis = YOU, a little flat, overexposed, good composition, but insecure and drunk.
“Not bad,” the Big Man says,
“considering the circumstances”.