Photos For Valentines

Poem By John W. McEwers

It's hard to love the day.
I've mostly just pshawed and poo-pooed
the concept of soulmates.
It's as foreign as flatmates
and flatmates are British.

But then the weeks leading
to Valentine's Day arrive,
creeping needlessly in plain sight
like a schoolyard bully
flexing, readying his noogie-arm.

My senses burst into awareness
eyes wide, pupils dilated
and I remember each Valentine's
each day I lost another rung
on the ladder of pride.

Mostly, I'd hide.
I would now, if tradition held,
sneak to a dark lonely place,
a bar, a strip club, a Denny's,
swerving the impact of solitude
on a day where love equals two
and two does not equal John.

But I bought a camera
in an old thrift shop
this year, and I've studied
my shutter speeds
my light values
and I'm out in the crowds taking photographs
clicking this button and capturing
scenes of the line at a theater,
scenes of joggers in the park,
scenes of an Italian restaurant,

thousands of photos
millions of faces
and with these photographs
I will build a universe,
parallel to mine.
I will crop and paste and piece together
my world on this annual day of love
and I'll copy and print and post
a gigantic panoramic Valentine
on billboards and building walls
parking lots and ball courts
and maybe
just maybe
if I scour, if I'm patient
if I don't hide...

somewhere in the reaches,
in the Nikon deep field
of my photographic universe
she'll be there, smiling,
hair like a falling star, tumbling
through the edges of the frame,
and maybe, just maybe
she knows,
she's waving to the camera,
saying in a distant paralyzed silence
'Be Mine.'

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