The Secret Life of a Photograph – Mark Fleckenstein

The Secret Life of a Photograph


Imagine a looking glass song, memorialized,
mesmerizing. A photograph of a useless 

room, a door not closed or open. 
Startled words nestled,

beautifully framed, kneeling, spangled with dust.


His breath, an escaped conversation,
the cold makes into icy lace,

a momentary mid-air 
decoration. An object   

like the photograph he once was. 


Delphi: He remembers sitting on
a hill, 6am, watching tour buses 

slither up the mountain road. Sacred 
and profane: an enjambed balance. 

What a thing is and exactly what’s 
missing. The Oracle, never photo-

graphed, readies for seekers


Wishes on the moon, a new moon, every moon.
Wishes to relive 12 minutes to the second.

Remember: to turn slowly, to feel, not 
think. Two words. Hoping to make
the sun rise, even though it already has. 


The days’ held breath is released. 
Night exhales the moon, errant 

stars, and paintless darkness. Prayers, 
desire, exhausted wishes -- wordless, 

disembodied, caressed -- skulk against the sky, 


If you will know the correct order of letters, 
you make a world, you make creation. 

An image and its presumed shadow. How he 
talks to himself: shrugs, sighs, muscle pauses,

metastasized longing. An intimate 
conversation with absence. Not tactile,

desired. Misunderstanding any means to explain.


The theory: make a line drawing 
of everywhere you’ve ever lived, 

and you’ll end up drawing
your own face. Mouth and lips

play at being muscles.


Homecoming: the sum 
of our mistakes: skin,
nerves, blood - Nowhere 
better than anywhere.

The house rests on its hips.


What he throws his disappeared life 
against is hidden: a mirror, 

freshly emptied, still wet from 
the afterimage. The image 

stitched on the back of a mirror. 

Mark Fleckenstein