A railway station corner. A man hunkered down.
Eyes closed. Hat on his head. Cobwebs, grime.
He hasn’t moved in seventeen years. Passed by, trod on.
In a trance, seeking nirvana, waiting long. Every easy answer lost.
The wait ends. Spiritual apotheosis. Soul trigger, leaves body.
The world wants instant karma. No one notices.
The photograph depicts a moment in time arbitrarily determined without the consent of any of those involved. The closest anyone got to controlling it was when the photographer clicked the picture, but the lag between the synaptic flash in the photographer’s brain and the flash of the camera when the shutter fell was too long to be instantaneous. The wrong instant was captured.
A hand holds the photograph. Mercury light falls on the surface, flowing over faces, between the shadows, bending around the fingers gripping the picture. The photograph exists in two dimensions. Any attributed depth is imaginary. The hand holds it in indeterminate three-dimensional space. For the eyes in the photograph, there is only above.
In the grip of the hand, tendrils of theory emanate from the image and grasp memories from its past and future. Some of them encircle possibilities and collapse them into perceived facts, others slither and move on.
The eyes in the photograph see a transparent mutating circle grow larger and larger as it approaches. With a splotch, vision is distorted, then returns to normal as the drop of water slides away.
The hand shakes the rainwater off the photograph and inserts it in a coat pocket for protection. The eyes now gaze into darkness. They will not exist until they are observed again. Only a thin layer of chemicals clinging to memories of long-ago light stand between them and complete oblivion. Results of a mistaken moment, staring into the void in silent appeal.