Smiles of Saigon


Words by David Jauss, Photography by Sam Morris

The posthumous shock when the bulb flashes,

a kind of time travel –––you see

your face displayed, decades from now,

on a flea market table, a stranger’s eyes

drifting over it as he passes by.


Your absence, you realize, will be as puny

as your thumb-sized image on the sepia paper,

there will be no one who remembers you

as anything more than a name in the family Bible,

and suddenly you envy, with something like thirst,

the grand absence of the photographer,

an absence as large and pure as God’s,

who created the world, the story goes,

with the same trick of light.


And you imagine

standing forever behind that camera, outside

the framed world, squinting at the evidence

that you, for one flash of time, existed

and you feel rise in you, rise swirling like dust

in sunlight, the desire to be so perfectly absent

you could never die.


David Jauss is an American writer whose latest offering can be found here.

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