Portrait of A.
If they don’t see happiness in the picture at least
they’ll see the black. —Chris Marker
A magnolia tree in full bloom, X-
rayed by a streetlamp,
pressed against the windowpane
like someone hopped onto the glass
of the office Xerox and hit copy
A magnolia tree in full bloom, winter
in black and white: cold, grainy air
and your fingers pointing, Last April
your husband buried
the two halves of a snake you shot
your new film about a river
that flows backwards
Rivers, did you know,
are measured by a sinuosity index
in opposite corners
of the yard so one half wouldn’t find
Length as crow flies divided by
length as fish swims weight
and counterweight. A magnolia,
framed, a shot looking for its pair.
Copyright © 2015 by Tung-Hui Hu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.