Today I see the faces in everything:
the trees across the street, the clouds
in Ansel Adams’s The Golden Gate
Before the Bridge, San Francisco,
California. In the picture, I’m not hugging
the sequoia; I’m showing the woman
behind the camera I am small, young,
that I’ve always been vulnerable
to fire, and I am smiling to know this.
I am holding my arms perpendicular
to the plane of my body, which is parallel
to the plane of the tree, the tree
between my arms, outstretched,
and in so doing I am saying to the woman
behind the camera: You too are small, young,
you have always been vulnerable to fire.
In taking the picture, she says: I agree.
You are small. The picture is on a screen
in a hotel room. The woman behind the camera
a figment of memory, her face smudged,
imprecise. There is pleasure in planes
gone to silt, in time (as with water, as with wind)
doing its sedimentary work. Pleasure
in what’s past—the feeling of the tree’s
rough bark, its trunk as whole
between my arms as the Golden Gate,
through either peninsula, running
into ocean under only one horizon—
pleasure in not knowing (fire, steel,
grief) what’s yet to come.