Friday, June 6, 2008

Three Photographs by Kat Magendie

See. The back of the neck shot. My ear like a seashell. The age on my face barely shown on a half cheek. My hair grown out a bit. The shadows where the sun hits and bounces off. I am white, even with my Indian ancestor. I am looking down, and away. Maybe I am thinking how the person attached to that foot, making that shadow, is coming too close. For the back of my neck is vulnerable. The earring about to puncture the soft underneath my ear. Sunglasses hide my thoughts. The back of my neck. At Chimney Rock

Black and White. I remember this day, just a little. To the photographer we went to record my youth. I remember my shoes were too tight, and I kept pulling at the strap as I sat in the backseat of the rambler. I had not long been with my new mother, who hadn't adopted me yet; and my father who was driving, one arm always more tanned than the other from leaving it draped out of the window; who had airconditioned cars then, the rich? I remember how proud I was that my new mother let me wear her single-pearl necklace. It lay heavy against my chest, that grown up symbol (somewhere an unrest occurred, but why would someone so young know these things?). My hair long and tied back into a ponytail, and it shone with the strokes of the brush my new mother gave it. I can still feel her hand as it smoothed the flyaways, following the brush against my scalp. I see my young self from the height of my grown self. The little me fits perfectly inside the grown up me. Smile! Snap! Flash! Then, my father drove us home and I took off the dress, and the too tight shoes, and the grown symbol around my neck and I became just a dirty barefooted kid again, running in the grass with my brothers, never knowing I'd one day look at this picture and sigh. What does the sigh tell me? I can't figure it out.

You are grinning out of your car window, that old heap of junk you fixed up. Your eyes are almost crinkled shut, and your teeth are strong and white. A shock of hair falls on your forehead, a comma, separating your expressive eyebrows. The nose you share with me—brother-sister similarities of eye, nose, ear, chin, smile—breathes the Texas air. You are a million miles away from me. Yet, there you are.

Gratitude for the life in still form, that look back, that moment captured, the moment that has no awareness of its future, but I, from this distance know all, like I am a god but only with hindsight.


Angie Ledbetter said...

I love photographs too. Having a hard time giving up my "baby" (my Pentax that takes good pics even on auto focus) in exchange for a new digital camera...but I'll get there soon. Hugs!

Barbara Quinn said...

I could see your photos clearly. Lovely descriptions. Funny how the pictures make us think of much more than they capture. Thanks for the journey.

Nannette Croce said...

Odd how when we look back even at times we know were hard, there's this sense of nostalgia or is it comfort in the familiar? We know what happened back then. We know we made it through. What we don't know is what the future holds.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I am facinated by old photos, too - ones where you can, and cannot, or do not, know who what where

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