The pretty photographer

The pretty photographer smells of vervain.

She washes her knit top in vervain soap

and dries it laid out on a small towel

on the white painted wooden floorboards

in front of the double doors

that lead to a tiny balcony

where no one ever goes.

Once, her brother stood out there

and when he leaned over the iron railings

she saw them begin to bend

and she said nothing,

and when he came back inside

still smoking his cigarette she said

nothing about the rust stain striped across

his oatmeal coloured V-neck jersey.


This is where the photographer is now:

outside the zoo, taking photographs

of people’s bags, and what

they are carrying in their hands.


The pretty photographer says nothing

in interviews or artist statements

about the people’s bags, their hands,

the things they carry.

She talks instead about the importance


of shadows to the composition,

and the problem of the colour

of the shadow often clashing

with the colour of the object in the sun—

a third colour must be found

to act, she says, as a go-between.

And then she laughs, a curl of hair

slipping down across her face.