Photogenic Drawing, CA. 1839
View this alone in the dark, and be brief.
Unwrap it from the black paper in your bedroom with the curtains closed.
My hands did not render the leaves.
I laid the cutting on the chemical-soaked paper.
I placed them together in the sun.
Hold its edges, and remember how our history was born in the August light
when we knew, but resisted, that you must remain off-limits, touched only by the sun.
I watched until the exposure was done,
until the paper turned a deep shade of brown
and the imprint of the leaves burned red
with the autumn between us.
If you hear a knock on your bedroom door, if someone senses our secret,
open the curtains, hold the paper to the sun, and the leaves will fade.
I will send you more leaves, more details
from this language growing around me,
this correspondence with the sun.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro