The Photographer

Someday we will need to explain the
concept of a photographer:

(before phones), a person who carried a camera,
took the pictures
and rarely appeared in the frame.

There was forethought of film,
finding focus,
working with light.
There were days before development,
finite number of frames.

Growing up, the photographer was my mother.
In my mind I can still hear
the whirred flick of her Nikkormat,
the push of clickwheel to advance the film.

She brought me places.
She took photos and printed them out.
She told me

People love talking about themselves,
ask them questions.

When I look back at the photographs I can see what she saw.
Gift of time and perspective,
gift from the photographer.

Oh Mom,
The image I remember most is you,
crouched down and holding the camera
your long hair and small smile on the other side of the lens.

Originally published in What We Were Born For.