Playing Photography

I turn off the last light in the bookstore
          and read a magazine in darkness. Unsure
and unconvinced by the articles and
          photographs, I picture an unfinished portrait

of hands opening black umbrellas
          in the sand. A toppled wine bottle. Two
lovers busted with flashlight, a convertible
          exiting right. A mother’s hallucination

of her kidnapped son. Convicts plan to make a run
          on crayon-colored maps. From greater heights,
castles and mounted knights pose in the
          moon’s foggy spotlight. A bold fox sits

on avalanched rocks, snow and
          starlight at his back, watching
oblivious humans pass. Also mountains. The sky
          charring itself black. Clouds quickly

detach. The fox settles for a rabbit. Tan bandages
          dam the blood of a crescent
scratch, a spine shoves its discs
          off-track, a man draws himself

to the wooden rack. To be a mouse instead
          he’d give everything back. He knew the art
of recklessness, the lure of motel-room traps. He plowed
          through the world with the speed of a flamenco

clap, laughing his black courtyard
          laugh—until I put him on a cast-off
poet’s raft, sitting here in the dark, thinking
          up photographs.

About the Author:
Derek Graf was born and raised in Tampa. His poems have previously appeared in Poydras Review, Sphere Literary Magazine, Thread Literary Inquiry, among other journals. He enjoys reading science fiction, French surrealist poetry, and listening to Cat Stevens. He plans to begin graduate school in the fall.