One Last Roll of Kodachrome (for Peter)
My feet collapse to the dunes. Like frying an egg to molten asphalt, I recognize waves, not for their rush of foam, but the salty water. Like tears, soaking through the hem of my sweats. But I don’t feel cold or hungry or like I’m bound to a sliver of earth that’s older than the seaspray. My dark circles whisper that I’m alive, but my mind is a mollusk whose memories are nothing but chapters in an encyclopedia.
I took a picture of three brave men at the summit of Kissing Rock. A 30 meter drop to a cotton candy sky and my toes absorb into a swell. I’m not so much a pearl, as I’m the facets that adorn a summer frost. My consonants tossed with bleu cheese, drizzled in a lemon pepper vinaigrette. The street we called our world is now a driveway and I made a left turn onto the southbound interstate.
My body, she recedes into the arugula, the mixed spinach and greens. They also wilt by the rays of his sun. But is a tulip still a tulip if I can no longer bear to look at it?
I hope that in heaven, you can get broadband, a good start to your thesis. Mine is sunset, lone ranch beach and one roll of Portra 400 dedicated to capturing your essence in the emulsion. My therapist suggested I practice mindfulness, germinate my roots to the granules below. I pass through mile 27, plant thoughts of you like seeds in the fields of lavender.
It was the summer solstice two Wednesdays back, but the moon never rose from behind the desert hills. Wire fences criss-cross state lines. Hour ten of the drive, why do I check the rearview mirror and expect you to be following?
Like I’m lounging poolside, and my heels bear down to the golden straw. Like Lou Reed on stereo, grind the rock to bone. Roll up my jeans, dip my ankle to the water’s edge and hug my paperback of The Usual Subjects tight to my chest.
On black and white film, a back splash of green pulls to the same shade as crimson. Scuffs on pointe shoes. A De Stil of spandex. Turquoise thighs, glittered beams bouncing off the flash. High-key breasts poke out from fine grain. Belly button bleached from emulsion. Norwich, June 1987. It’s Pops at the Bidwell Tavern. It’s the love of your life, she’s Tri-X, she’s Kodachrome, she’s the last roll of Ektar undeveloped in the back of the fridge. 36 exposures remain to tell the grandchildren.
Touch of Grey melts down lumbar curvature. An Ektachrome kaleidoscope encased in brass. Manilla folders and steno pads knocked over by errant elbows. And you scream that you once again have lost your mind. Pick it up from the carpet, dust it off and write down what you had for lunch.
Clean cut gentleman, barren jawline, tie under a collared shirt. But those pale blue eyes stare back a half century. A glint of Woodstock, the Grateful Dead, Bowie, Providence skylines, layered life. Inhale the summer rot, the curling tulips, cherry tomatoes for soup and salsa. Soil tilled for an invasion of zucchini leaves, sugar pumpkins and lost time.
Today, tomorrow, yesterday, not a year older than 1973. Relief found in a caramel hard candy, fresh roll in the F2A. Lou’s hypnotic strums aren’t enough to soothe the afternoon mothers swearing an oath to a generational divide like a breeze through the screen door. You wave and say a little prayer for the two little boys next door who gaze out through the mesh with their hands over their ears.
Turn on the Yankees, root for the Red Sox. A poppy seed harvest laid out to bake through window panes. Cross stitched stars and stripes stand to attention and the afterglow of an independence day laid to rest. A golden hour love letter to God’s country. The sun’s whorls refract, revealing smile lines like rings to an old growth Douglas fir.
Where is the moon, picking for pebbles on Cannon Beach? Pick up an agate, running the course surface along my thumb. A husk of a woman doomed to leave no trace in wet sand. Put my ear to a seashell, hoping to confess my only friend is nothing now but a roll of HP5 obscured from the viewfinder. Sometimes twenty one feels as far away as the shores of Titan or Narnia or Alki. Or sleeping in your friend’s truck bed on the way to Woodstock.
But please call out my name. Say that I can’t get rid of you that easily and the band of photons on the horizon may transfigure to the camera lens strapped around my neck. I’ll become one with the waves, roast pumpkin seeds every October. Dig through the sediment, build a sandcastle, an altar to seven years in the wild. I’ll propose a toast to the land of cyan skies and squint, chuckle, thumbing through peeling corners with glossy finishes.
is a graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied visual and performing arts. Over the years, Molly has found herself wearing many hats as a photographer, writer and reporter for numerous publications around the South Sound region of Washington State and beyond. Molly's poetry has appeared in October Hill Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Pioneertown
and Maudlin House, The Bangalore Review
and New Note Poetry
. You can find more of her work at mollywphoto.com