Here in the Future We Are Always Watching Ourselves
Once we walked next to a river full of silver fish
and factory run-off and knew we were there.
We didn’t consider backdrop or backlighting.
We walked. We fretted about the carcinogens.
We imagined being thirty, moving to Belgium.
Overhead a tree frog made its ridiculous small sound
and maybe we laughed, or maybe we welled up
for a second, the futility of that noise
against the river’s steady pulse, but we heard it.
Once someone took a picture of us before
we were ready, standing by a lake, a dogwood,
a field of sunflowers, and it was two weeks until
we got that film developed, and then there we were
off-guard in front of some beautiful thing,
sharp-skinny or round with youth, hands
outspread in a strange almost-egret angle,
hair hanging to our waist, maybe, or buzzed
close like we did that summer, open-mouthed
as if we were saying something, which
we almost certainly were. Now we’re never
saying something in the photos.
How powerful we are now. How careful.
The construction of a world requires
diligence. Is that tulip tree the best tulip tree?
Is that moon the best moon?
Do our crow’s feet show, and if so,
is it in the most self-assured way? What about
the sky behind us, is it red enough for revelation,
are the streaks coming through?
Is that mountain significant enough?
We’ve seen others like it. These dandelions
are furred and lovely in the afternoon sun, but
our hands look old. Try again. When did
our skin start to gather like that?
When did the moon get so flawed? Look
at that photo by the lake, the tree, the field.
We were there once, and our hands,
our strange hands, were so perfect. 
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