• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 12
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Say What You See

Say you hold a drop of dye
in a pipette above the globe
of your eye and squeeze
the rubber bulb until
the world is flooded Magenta.

Say history saturates
a Kodachrome slide
double exposed and you
see the Italian city from the start
of a descent --
progress built on battlefields
the child your grandfather once was.

Say his face is too early
inhabited by age.
Say he’s handing you a letter.
Say behind him there are others
addressed to you
like missiles.

Say there’s a spot in this picture
where the clouds dilate
where green light is unabsorbed
and in that frame of hope
an implausible acacia grows
and your grandfather

steps out of what harnesses him
to all those undelivered letters
and is free.

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Say What You See

 

NB: The Magenta dye used in colour photography was named after the Battle of Magenta (1859) during the Second Italian War of Independence, possibly due to the city’s blood-stained battlefields.

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