1What it means to carry a camera
2is to speak out of the empty
3frame seeing God, Sky, Road, her return
4and faith in the perfection of deserts.
5To picture the quiet man's body in the city.
6This is what it means to love, to loiter
7In forbidden zones, allowing the girl to loiter
8there with you, perhaps, taking your camera
9away at intervals and sending you into the city
10alone. Sometimes we need to come home empty
11handed; sick with strange deserts
12in mind we will leave and return
13With our long memory of the city,
14its sights and sounds to repeat and return
15to the missing man in the room, his empty
16chair. In his cool bed we loiter
17in the dark, patient with the camera
18and every sense recalling other deserts,
19Other times like this when the idea of deserts
20confounded us, when we dreamt the city
21was made of sand, tugged that camera
22down around his neck, no promise of return,
23but something of you, hopeful, seemed to loiter
24in the mind of the street, the empty
25Bed to go back to, your empty
26room a perfect void like his deserts,
27the window open where you loiter
28like a vagrant in your own apartment, the city
29loose with lights, the slow lights of return.
30You see he is unpacking the camera,
31Cradling the camera, testing the empty
32 weight of its images, tiny doors of return, her
33cold pictures of city, moon, desert.
RPO poem Editors
Copyright © Shannon Bramer and used by permission of the poet. Authorization to republish this poem must be obtained from her in writing.