Still Image

There is first what there is
Not in the photograph
Which is the time
And while this almost certainly
Is recorded in the metadata
There is of course the question
Of whether a digital photograph
Is precisely its digital image
On a hard drive or indeed only
The image presented to the user
And I have studied this
Or perhaps more correctly have
Studied alongside scholars
Who have studied this
And there is not a simple
Resolution, but of course
This is only lacking because we have
Over complicated the seeing of things
And the simplest resolution
Is that the photograph is only what
Is seen
And nothing more
And what is not seen
Is the time of day
Which was 11:51 am
And what is not seen
Is a window or anything like
A window, except two doors
But these open onto internal
Rooms and passages
And do not admit the passage
Of exterior light
And what is not seen is the light
Of the sun, or a particular
Shadow that could tell us the time of day
Which was 11:51 am

There is after what cannot be seen
What can be seen, which precedes
In the seeing of things what cannot
Be seen, and must be kept for last
And again there is first what cannot
Be seen, or more honestly, what is at
The edge of seeing, or again more honestly
The edges of the image
And what cannot be seen
Or what more honestly is at the edge
Of seeing is the expanse of their shoulders
Is the full height of their torso
And the full breadth of their hands
And what cannot be seen
Or what more honestly is at the edge
Of seeing is the very top of their head
And what cannot be seen or what
Are more honestly at the edge of seeing
Or again more honestly at the edge of the
Image are the curls combed back on the
Top of their head, still damp from a shower
From which within the time it takes for
Hair of a certain thickness to dry
Which is at least ten minutes
They have emerged, late in the morning
To take a photograph at the exact time
Of 11:51 am

And there is after what cannot be seen
Or what is more honestly at the edge of
Seeing, what can be seen, and what is seen
First, which is a particular shadow of
Unshaven hair, of something perhaps
Too long to still be called stubble
But which is the product of a week or more
Of unchecked growth
Or perhaps this is only what I see first
And what you see first, or someone
Else sees first is the tuft of uncombed
Hair below their right ear, or perhaps
What you see first, or someone else
Sees first is the glossiness of their
High forehead, and perhaps the recession
Of hair
Or perhaps this is something only I see
Or only something I imagine
But do not see
Or perhaps what you see first is that
They are not looking at you
Or because you were not there
Are not looking into the mirror
Into their own eyes
But instead have cast down their eyes
To the camera
With which they are taking a photograph
To the new camera
Which they purchased only yesterday
And with which they are taking a photograph
Still damp or perhaps even in places
Wet, from a mid-morning shower
From which they have just emerged
To dress, and prepare for a slow day
Which has already been a slow day
Or a slow morning
And which will pass soon
Into a slow afternoon
In exactly nine minutes
From the current time of 11:51 am