EKPHRASIS IN BLUE


For Annabelle Utrecht

An old black and white photograph someone has
developed with blue toner          slightly out of focus
interior scene, dark, but washed out with the light
from the big open door          it’s a big institutional
door          it appears to be a circular pool          is it a
hospital or therapeutic spa of some kind?           steps
leading around the side down into the pool          old-
fashioned encaustic tiles cover the walls          cover
the floor          surround the pool          this blue amniotic
chamber looks like it was built between the wars
and by the pool is standing a man          an elderly
man stands by a blue circular pool in the gloom
washed out by the blinding light behind him
to his left          it looks like daylight          I smell chlorine
and the light reflects from the wet tiles quavers
on the surface of the water in the pool          I can’t
make out his face          the old man is wearing
wide-legged 1940s-cut trousers high around his
waist held up by suspenders          his tie is wide
and he leans dapperly on a cane with his right
hip          in his left hand he holds          a homburg          a trilby
a fedora          I am not certain against his left hip          his
face is a navy blue thumbprint with half it an
eye and his mouth are inky bruised          I can’t
make out his expression          on the back of the
photograph someone has suggestively written
“death”           this perhaps makes for a melodramatic

poem but you must believe it is true.

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