shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Annie Stenzel

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Dust, and yet, not dust

after a photo of Colette, "Reve d'Egypte."

All month, I watched one woman's face, caught her glance
because her eyes followed me around this small room. Grainy
in black-and-white, the image is so dated there can be no doubt:
a camera clicked and caught this shot a long lifetime ago.

Even not knowing whose it was, I was still convinced that face would age
but perhaps didn't if the subject died young. Those haunted eyes
developed cataracts or maybe none, before they closed, one final time.
Never again could the sloe eyes send a message to the mind

inside the skull hidden beneath the tousled curls. Yet, here she is still,
staring at me the way she peered from the calendar in March last year,
and just the way she mesmerized a photographer in 1907. A picture
is protection from death's erasure of a single day.

What more do you need, Colette? The life you led, the words you left,
and now this other kind of immortality.