For Joey and Kharah
Disney will try to sell you new love, that
shiny penny love – Belle never bothered
with boyfriends before the Beast, likewise,
the Beast was too busy to date, had his hands
full with a chifferobe that walked the halls.
In real life, which is also a fairytale
(only absent the impracticality and
loose fit of glass slippers), hearts often
aren't fresh when they find their home.
You may be thinking: tattered and worn,
rough around the edges, second hand.
You may be thinking of someone else's
shirt, discarded after fading or stained.
Must we go to the thrift store for love?
What if this shirt already has children?
What if this shirt developed bad habits
in its last marriage, or wasn't cured
of the bad habits it already possessed?
What if this shirt leaves dirty socks on the floor?
But the heart is not a shirt, though
it may be softened. The heart is
a muscle that grows stronger with use.
That heart arrives home after
it has been through life's cycles –
real life love is washed and cleansed,
warm and ready to be held close to the skin.
For Katie B.
It is my firm belief that a daughter
Is a magnification rather than a dissolution
of her mother. It starts with a girl's hair,
curlier and wilder than her mother's,
also more frail, which is as well a magnification,
the daughter's power to be frail beyond
her mother’s dreams or memories of her
own frailness, which has been locked away
behind years of schooling, and stings
she's suffered along the way, inoculations
from bees and boys against letting her lip
tremble anymore, which hardly ever
happens now except when she sees
her daughter's rage or kindness or grief
on the playground, in the grocery store,
in the car, up front and loud, as saturated
as paint is when you first start to rinse
it from your fingers.
Common sense says that holding something
up to your eye dims your vision.
But not so with a camera lens.
A camera specifies sight,
and when your looking narrows,
you can see the wide, the divine, of all.
And you'd think that by focusing
on everything else, you'd lose yourself,
or else the subject might lose their soul
(that old belief), but in fact both
the photographer and the object
of his art walk away magnified by
the purifying, black and white or color of awe.