The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera.
— Dorthea Lange entry on “human voice”
If you let me, I’ll teach you to see.
Hold my inelegant lens to your
own fluid eye and the world
Don’t ask me why its reduction
lets you breathe.
Is it all too much? The scope,
the endless directions you could look,
close-up or wide angle,
No wonder you need my small window,
dials, settings, focusing rings,
a once-lively moment captured and stilled.
Maybe you need the shattering
brightness condensed to a slivered dance of light.
A sliver is all I can give.
I envy your involuntary blink,
The way your pupils accept
without strategy or manipulation
the illumined shimmer
on grass blades, window panes,
glancing the water’s surface like
a million gold pennies.
I envy the ease of images entering,
folding themselves into secrets you
keep for later.
I am not a shield. Never meant to close you off,
keep you separate. If I could trade
my thick curved glass for the breathing
pulse of eyes then
I’d hold mine open,
welcome the pang
of light and color,
watch the fractured world made whole.