Does staring into the black and white contours of a photo
enable a rapprochement with the unreality of one’s own life,
a way to see peculiarity as a back staircase in an old house in a city
so memorably far, dark but navigable, the stairs lacking undulation,
items strewn across a landscape, fixed and determined,
the borders of history and frame set and watching her feet going up and down,
counting the risers that are always 16 despite the deformations of dreams,
always scuffed and smelling of dust, the taste of a local architect
influenced by city regulations and his sense of propriety and then turning
the page to an image of the purported documents of an ordinary scene,
a few weeds wavering in the foreground and the jagged outlines against a sky,
a 7pm time of day, summer, a particular dry rush of air,
and a cutout of one’s own days called up, and the inability to get at
the unlocatable bereavement left on the stairs to be carried up when you go.
From Ocular Proof. Copyright © 2016 by Martha Ronk. Used with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing.