Poem: Snapshots Filed

That stranger passing spent 25 years becoming a corner of my peripheral vision.

Snapshots Filed

These streets I walk and walk again, each time
more deeply lost in a constant unveiling of my days
And half the time I’m purposeless and wandering
Wondering as well, lenses all set at infinity, finding
imagery in stranger’s faces, shot quickly in repose
Their unknown, complicated lives, all lived to now,
to serve as background to the camera of my mind

And me to theirs, together we’re an endless stream,
washing across dark glass, exposing pebbles
of our human grace, the stories written there
in lines on faces, the swift moment of held eyes
Then gone, and passed, foreclosing the exposure
Freeze-frame one another’s lives, the smiles and tears
that brought us here, split-seconded away

Young and old and short and tall, reflected in the glass
of shops and passing trams, a time-lapse photography
of shutter-speeds that push the capability of film--click
Sifting bits of language, catching but a half a phrase
Mutual unknown lives, developed in scattered images
that need to sit a while, over a quiet smoke and coffee
Until the print is made, defined, comes clear at last

Any face at random, yes the bent woman with a cane
Tell me your story--the child gone who never writes,
the husband you bring flowers, his rough hands stilled
I know you somehow, have known you both before
You’d recognize me too, if we could spread the album
on our knees, the images that streamed across our lives
Somewhere among them, the same faded photo holds us all

Another yeah, introduce that young guy with the attitude
I’ve lived bits of his life, he may yet live scraps of mine
There’s boldness in him, overcoming the hidden fear
He’ll miss it all before he’s twenty-two and life’s used up
We ought to have a beer and talk about his girl, the one
who drives him nuts and makes him sweat and grin
But the moment’s gone, another snapshot’s filed away
Poetry Collection: Corner of My Mind
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection

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