Long-Exposure Photograph of a Man

One man is many. I never said he left me but he left when he thought I was. Yes, and I too had thoughts that went on over time. Duration extends into the future, wraps around the past. Can anyone avoid saying, I once was. Of course now you have your test tube babies. Your nuclear transfer animals. My brother was at one point making a film that moved forward while we stood still. Looking isn’t always gawking. That requires a degree of stumbling open-mouth wonder. What’s wrong with that? If you had seen what I had seen. My brother is reading Kafka. My brother Franz. An incidental doubling. I told you before that I spoke English. Or did I? You know it now. You also should know that I communicate through showing how an object acts on me. I’m either in it or I’m behind it. One or two more. Will you some day really bring everything back from the brink?

From A Doll for Throwing by Mary Jo Bang. Copyright © 2017 by Mary Jo Bang. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org.