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The Invention of Dragons


ISSUE:  Autumn 1981
Nothing exists.

Yet, in the old photograph,
father and son—
looking miserable in the task
of their beauty and love.
They are standing in the new snowfall
in the backyard, between them
a snowman they have just made,
a frozen, half-grinning trio.
Take the damn picture, they say silently.

Behind them,
a grape-arbor twists helplessly
at the kiss of snow—
like a sleet dragon of delicate,
impossible force.

Perhaps the father loves his son.
You cannot tell it from the picture.
The camera, an invention of angels,
snaps them anyway,

Then the years go by.
The boy sleeps the sleep of the photograph,
and the father dies.
When the boy wakens, nothing exists,
and he is nothing.

He picks up the photograph.
How beautiful they are, he sees,
those four dragons, half-
frozen in the smoke of winter morning.

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