gas and silver (for daguerre)

an image inside a box
everything a blur
time erases anything that walks
anything but her

experiments in the night
a fading face
summoned by candlelight
he brings to the bedside a black case

“mama i cannot expect that you will understand
that this is not a miracle but a mystery of science
just a little gas and silver, no sleight of hand”
then he stands and throws apart the curtains wide

everyone’s gone home
the ticking clocks
father and son
he pulls an image from a box

“papa i know how cruel it was to lose her by degrees
but it gave me time to find a way to keep her here beside us
it’s only gas and silver and our memories”
and he presses down the truth into an open hand