Plate 311—Eadward Muybridge
The rock at the same plane as the shorn head.
As if the man is listening to the rock and the rock
is unwilling to enter the world that awaits.
It is the new opera, this law of contingencies.
The rock, held there in the man’s right palm.
The relation between them in which the body
and the body are two animals, asleep
in the camera’s eye. Their stringent, physical link.
There is, between them, the mute and reciprocal
understanding. His forearm towards the camera.
Together the rock and the man’s elbow fuse into
an exclamation point, inverted to express
the power of the man’s body. The rock is warmed
by the man’s face as he stands there. The stillness
which is also the potential coalesces into shadows
across both faces—the rock and the man.
His jaw fixed in the direction he will throw
in a later frame, but in this one he brings
his left arm up. His hand splays out to catch
the stone as his left leg anchors him. Disperses
the weight exploding forward as his torso leans.
The uncertainty of the rock’s trajectory—the possibilities
turn in a span of light. The way the light distributes
and integrates the man’s hands into the object
so the eye, deceived, sees a fusion of the two.
The man and the rock mistaken for a denser image.
And now he has brought the other hand up,
his head obscured by his left arm. The rock
rising above him so that it is a sun. And he is
a god. The relation between them,
momentum. The relation between them, negated
with a thought. As when the man’s right arm moves
across his face, arcs, and releases what was his.
Copyright © Oliver de la Paz
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.