David Helwig

Negatives

A monochrome adventuring: the chemicals
spread on polymer and exposed to a flash of light
hatch this peephole’s-worth of look, but glimpsed in reverse,
black snow, slate skin, branches in ivory silhouette,

haunted snow-shadowed eyes, abstracted from the heat
and breeding and decay of the gaudy universe,
landscape pressed to the transparency of night,
air’s inversion of plenitude, volume to line,

all of it mediated, miniature, its code
freezing one sixtieth of a second transposed
into this misty creation, shades cast in light,
a black dove descending toward a field of ash.

As X-ray transparencies reveal what we hide
in the roots of our teeth, forsaken memories
display themselves to us in swirling flecked black smoke,
pigmentation abandoned, the rainbow spectrum.

A monochrome yesterday gleams in pure shadows
of design; sharpness of line and lucent texture
sketch in grisaille an architecture of the past,
your bare toes grey upon grey, outlined in silver

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