Photocopying My Driver's License

I set the brightness to one bar
and see in the face that slides onto the paper tray
the moment before Hiroshima
flickered––the eyes narrowing, diminishing to pupils
in the abrupt flare
of light that precedes the burning (of
image upon paper,

or rubble) . I mark the youth-
fulness, the smoothening of contour, lightening
of five o'clock shadow.
This is all it takes
to annul two decades––a fluorescent bulb
and a sheet of glass. This is all it takes––
ignition,

just as a self-cleaning oven
sets itself on fire
to burn away the residue of countless meals––
year after year peeling back,
coating flaking away
to expose what lies beneath––
the bridge of a nose,
cheekbones slanting into light.

by Sean McDowell

Comments (2)

Lol Sean, I'm a fan of this poem
This is the best poem posted today, in my humble opinion. It has strong imagery and symbolism, and has good flow and economy of word usage. I like how it presents a novel perspective. Just great.