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