This is a Photograph of Me

Posted by on Oct 26, 2014 in T. Cole Rachel | No Comments
This is a Photograph of Me

This Is a Photograph of Me

 

It was taken some time ago.

At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
eventually
you will be able to see me.)

-Margaret Atwood, 1939

From The Circle Game by Margaret Atwood. Copyright © 1998 by Margaret Atwood. Reproduced by permission of House of Anansi Press. All rights reserved.

Photo:
Joel Sternfeld, Bear Lake, Utah, July 1979, from American Prospects