For a moment it flashed 
through me, I thought I 
remembered being someone before now, 
the her who was me 
hurt, felt, 
embedded like a whorl in wood. 
The photograph is black and white, 
but I know the dress was amber– 
she bells out toward me, 
her fingers resting against 
a cage of satin, 
she stands the way I do 
already–is that it– 
or have I never forgotten how 
to stand like her? 

If I could just take the fire with me 
into the next room I might sleep 
and stumble into the black hole 
of that photographer’s studio, 
back into the frame, 
a wax doll, head and hands 
emerging out of her costume, 
like the infanta of Velasquez, 
her future already in place, 
maids-in-waiting, a dog, the dwarf, 
everyone staring into a dream so dense 
nothing ever escapes it. 
Ioanna Carlsen

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