Frozen Light

I don’t know how to reconcile
this heart with the last —
or this body —
or these hands.
I lay my photographs
one on top of the other
as if they are made of
tracing paper —
as if I could spot the difference.
As if seventeen
would show me how much
nineteen had shaved off,
or how much twenty-three had softened
all the sharp edges
I had kept.
But they are only photographs.
Frozen time.
Only a girl who looks like me
— or who is me —
or who was me.
They are only reflections of light,
like the stars,
reaching me here now
years later, trying to figure out how the past
works into the present,
or why I carry it around with me
thinking it should still mean something.
That heart — that body —
those hands.
They mean nothing.
Like the stars, burning away.
They mean nothing.
They are only light.
That camera flash and
gone — that girl is gone —
and I am gone
— and here again.


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