Little Photographer

Little Photographer

My son Josh loves to follow me around the studio, helping me rearrange drapery and backdrops from the bucolic to the sinister. When he was born, I gave up a government clerkship to spend more time with him, using my savings to open up a photography store where I charge $50 for a single portraiture.

Josh can be a handful when he’s not busy – sitting still to him is about as lonesome and as boring as banishing him to the ends of the earth. I always need to invent new toys for him; the ones I buy, like Fisher Price, never last as long and they make a large dent in my wallet.

One particular morning, he’s being extremely difficult while I’m trying to pose a new mother and her wailing infant for a picture. He tugs at my shirt, staring wide-eyed at the crying baby.

“Let me help mom,” he says.

A migraine begins to gather between my brows and I can already feel a faint throbbing when I grab an old camera that I had been meaning to get fixed, but never did. I press it into his hands.

“You can be my number two.” I try to smile, feeling half-wilted. “Get ready to help me shoot.”

He shuffles off, intent with his new plaything and I think no more of it until the baby abruptly stops howling and gurgles. I rattle a few props to try to get her attention, but her gaze wanders behind my right shoulder. I turn around and there is Josh, photographing the toy horse I gave to him for his last birthday.

He smiles sheepishly.

I gesture him to move his horse and camera closer to my side. Whooping, Josh gallops towards me on his steed, the camera’s strap waving in one hand like a lasso.

The baby laughs brightly and I have the perfect photo.

In Memory

Old Camera

Postage-sized photographs
Litter the attic landing
In windfall, like leaves from
Autumns past.

My grandmother must have
Lingered fingers reverently
On ghost-pale faces —
Dear aunts and uncles.

In recollection of a memory
I cherish strangers;
One day, she shall enshrine
The memory of my daughter of me.