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Kneeling, firing and rising

Plate 311—Eadward Muybridge

The man with the rifle bends his right leg to steady

himself as the camera awaits transference—image

into danger. Image into representative act. Because

beyond this, there is nowhere to aim. From the “V” of

the crosshairs, the only target passing before him is

morning. There is no animal. No cause to act.

He is there to make the image. To give reason to

his body and to fill the frame like a beloved person.

How that person fills a room and sets everything

in that room in opposition to. He is here with a rifle.

And with that rifle, he sets to make his mark. To steady

the asymmetrical tilt of subject beyond its physical promise.

The man’s left hand holds the rifle because he fights

his heartbeat. That surge of blood into his brain and to

the arteries of his hands which cause the sightline to jump.

Each systole and diastole misaligns the information. His charge,

to still the body’s error. To still the space he has entered and to

speak, as artifact, with his aim. Eye brought close

to the instrument. Thus he changes the instrument and himself.

The gun diffuses energy as one accepts an invitation

to enter a house. To enter and change the air. And now

he pulls the trigger. And now he surges forward, follows

the bullet’s curving belly into the plane beyond.

from Poetry Northwest 08.2 Fall & Winter 2013-2014More by Oliver de la Paz from the library

Copyright © Oliver de la Paz
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Oliver de la Paz Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.