Camera with Humidity Under Its Lens by Joseph Mulholland
PN's Jacqueline Boucher on today's bonus poem: The first lines of Joseph Mulholland’s “Camera With Humidity Under Its Lens” feel like the first breath after falling. Both sound and image crackle with movement, crystal clear and visceral in contrast with the cloudiness the title suggests. Feel yourself gathering breath as the movement slows with long, deliberate lines, and wonder what just hit you.
Camera with Humidity Under Its Lens
To line the camera’s edges with butcher paper is to tender a light
so tenuous it’ll wax unfashionable. It was admirable how your father
refused, time & again, to be another silent film era swashbuckler
shaking sea urchins out of mud-flecked boots for a few laughs. Somewhere,
an octopus rolls R’s off the blood-light of breath. A knock-kneed horse
in an open field, a cloned Anita creeping up on flexed toes. Her necklace
of sand dollars, her whispering eyes. The camera cuts the horizon in half,
a single drop of blood arches its back in mid-air. Bullet marrow, agave.
The car crash scene extras take turns spitting into the stucco reproduction
of the Fontana di Trevi. After the broken glass has settled, the sky—
both open wound & overturned ceramic bowl trapping a far-off galaxy’s light—
memorizes its own reflection, a nimbus of silver tendons, a force without
counterfeit behind weakening blood vessel walls. A glacial rash spreads across
the night sky—an entire city fainting at the end of your garter pistol’s cold nose.
Joseph Mulholland is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Journal, Bayou, Whisky Island, Grist, The Carolina Quarterly,and Notre Dame Review. He currently lives in San Juan and is a graduate student at the University of Puerto Rico.