By Melinda Smith
I came to your image pool, seeking. I stood
at the lip. I gazed, and dipped, and snapped,
and bore away with me a woman, in a wardrobe,
in a white bra and panties, a pie plate eclipsing
her face. (If she can’t see, she can’t be seen).
Above her, as thought-bubble: two fleshy parallels
- naked legs on a beach, cropped. Below:
another woman in white, erupting, elbows out,
from a nose-cone of wedding dress. Surveying herself,
she angles her head just so, calibrating the effect.
Beside her porthole mirror, her silver fish-eye,
black-framed certificates trail down the wall,
listing, slightly. At her back is a giant door.
Looking again, I find I have captured
other women, other limbs, ones you did not
put there. They are works in a backwards gallery,
a salon of un-intention. There, too, we see frames
of black, the far wall gripping them too tight to tilt.
A girl leans, rounding the small of her back, letting
light through from beyond. Above, two dancers
in white, ghosted parallels, elbows out, caught
in one frame of their loop. Centre: another woman,
one I know well, a triangle of white for the hair.
If she can’t see, she can’t be seen. She stoops,
elbows out, phone-case eclipsing her face, cradling
the oblong of black, angling, calibrating. It opens,
a giant door.
This poem is in response to the photographic collection, 'The Image Pool, 2016'
by Patrick Pound and forms part of the Shadow Catchers exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2020.