A friend of ours, just for a laugh,

Once took a certain photograph,


Of our charming, drunken youth,

A cheap facsimile of the truth,


Approximating as it did 

The history that our faces hid,


And then sold the priceless icon

As publicity for Nikon,


So that our grainy pith 

Was advertised forthwith


(Counterfeiting its routine

In a major magazine:


No promotion makes amends

For the grabby camera lens—


Only avarice repeats

What common sense deletes),


Although above the flashy words

Floats the skywriting of birds.


Years later, when the winter bleaches 

Such mementos of our beaches


And the souvenirs we take 

Seem real to us, not fake,


When the distant island light 

Has faded into white 


And none of us recall

That summer or its fall,


When the sounds of ocean wane,

May this one idea remain:


When our lives are grown invisible,

May the photos of our eyes be full.


September 29th, 1994