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Camera Eulogia

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Herodotus says the king made a bowl to leave behind
the memory of a number. We don’t know the number.
We don’t know if it was divisible by two or three.
I want, at the moment, the number to indicate
a ratio, part of a proportion, because the measurement
of the earth depends on this, the balance among things,
the snow at the bottom of the hill, the gold garage light
caged in a tree, my love for my friend and the distance
between us, which I can’t bear.

I made a pinhole camera to demonstrate proportion,
and everything bright hovers on its milky eye,
and here is the catalogue of what hovers there
smaller than itself: the blue horizon and the dash
at the stoplight, a shell night-light, the gazing ball
of the sun going down against the white back fence,
which made it look like night in the woods lit
from underneath on the wax. I held these things
yesterday, along with two pearls that are spheres
hanging from my living room ceiling.

My friend is smaller now, and if I held my camera up
to her, she would give off enough light to hover
pocket-sized in my hand, and grand in the world.

Source: Poetry (November 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Camera Eulogia

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