Camera Man by Ethel Rackin

Camera Man

I had to swim part way there because the land was submerged
or maybe hadn’t been there in the first place, for all I knew.
The stripes of blue and gold were the same for both of us—
gender neutral? Not exactly, but close enough.
You wore your best encampment and I wore the jeans
I had left. I couldn’t help myself
from falling asleep: the waves, the paddling,
the fatigue, treated (not very well) by 30 mg.
It was a miracle but only if you could afford it.
All of the new thinking is like…. Anyway, just as
someone stole the only photo I had left of that
time, a photo simultaneously sad and magical,
I lit a fire under us. You wouldn’t have minded
except now you and everyone you knew
had to get involved, to which I responded
by asking exactly who you were and what
business you had taking my picture after all.


Ethel Rackin is the author of three books of poetry: The Forever Notes (Parlor Press, 2013); Go On (Parlor Press, 2016); and Evening (Furniture Press, 2017). Her new teaching text is Crafting Poems and Stories: A Guide to Creative Writing (Broadview Press, 2022).

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