We weren’t supposed to return—
No way to gather up again
The kiss that fell from our chapped
Lips as we fled.
Is supposed to happen
In Autumn, except, one year,
My falling, and each year, the leaves’
Falling into the world.
Until that Autumn.
How much it hurt the leaves
To join the bloodbath in the streets
This is still autumn, and the times
Still a tumult, and the lips of the world
Are still torn from the kisses they knew
before contagion spread.
This is autumn
Again, and the whole world lives like us
Now, in segregation.
Below the belt of the earth
I sit in darkness,
And the only light to remember by
Is that which burns inside my eyes.
I turn to the mirror and shoot
My reflection, and all I capture
my distant days, before the fall.
This poem is in response to the photograph 'Self-portrait with Leica 1931, printed 1941 gelatin silver photograph'
by llse Bing which is part of the Shadow catchers exhibition at Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2020.