Photographic Documentation by Kevin Canfield

Photographic Documentation

The boy brought to school a very old photo,
black and white and brittle, gently scalloped
on the borders; it showed three military vehicles
and a few soldiers with their backs to the camera;
in the sky above the men, the boy informed his
teacher and his classmates, god was plainly visible,
looking down on a battlefield in the Pacific,
just before an important Second World War battle;
look, you can see his beard, the boy said of a
cloud resembling an equilateral triangle
made of feathers; and those are his eyes,
he added, pointing at two dark clefts of sky;
one of the boy’s ignoramus classmates insisted
that there were no such battles in Asia,
and another demanded to know where the boy got
the photo in the first place; the boy ignored his
detractors and continued with his monologue;
the photographer was killed not long after he
took this picture, the boy said, and though he offered
no proof that this was the case, he said it with
tremendous conviction, his voice quavering by the
end of his presentation, and when he sat down,
the teacher confessed that although she was not
a believer, at least not today, she was certain that
she would think about his photo again, today
or tomorrow, or whenever someone says god


Kevin Canfield lives in New York City. His writing has appeared in Cineaste, the Los Angeles Review of Books, World Literature Today and other publications.

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