Portrait of A.

If they don’t see happiness in the picture at least they’ll see the black. – Chris Marker

A magnolia tree in full bloom, X-
rayed by a streetlamp,
pressed against the windowpane
like someone hopped onto the glass
of the office Xerox and hit copy

A magnolia tree in full bloom, winter
in black and white:      cold, grainy air
and your fingers pointing,       Last April
your husband buried
the two halves of a snake         you shot

your new film about a river
that flows backwards
Rivers, did you know,
are measured by a sinuosity index
in opposite corners

of the yard so one half wouldn’t find
Length as crow flies                divided by
length as fish swims      weight
and counterweight. A magnolia,
framed, a shot looking for       its pair.

Tung-Hui Hu