An adjustment: sight survives

its entry into darkness. A space

that feels at first empty then full

of strange machinery and at last

familiar. Your body knows its way


to the baths and running water,

how to unspool a subject by touch

or scan a quick proof, each cell

of memory magnified in the tunnel

of your loupe. Here there is clarity


of purpose. Image maker, enlarger,

you work the light like a radiologist.

Short bursts. Burn the shy skin

and bathe it to reveal the anatomy

of an instant. It’s a backwards


measure, time. A few seconds

of exposure infinitely repeatable

while a summer hour holds still

in your hand, deepens, cannot be

rinsed away or washed out,


not completely. New moments

dry on the line, unfade to portraits,

the phantasmagoria of what

the shutter saw and the eye sees:

shade pooling beneath the seat


of a swing or the first laugh

lines of a child, the familiar

faces rising from the other side

of shadow, their expressions

wild and composed and fixing

for good.



Nicholas Yingling‘s work has previously appeared in Colorado Review, Nimrod, Notre Dame Review, Spillway, Palette Poetry, and others.

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