fictographica006: Ophelia, Storyville Diary

Bellocq – April 1911

There comes a quiet man now to my room–
Papa Bellocq, his camera on his back.
He wants nothing, he says, but to take me
as I would arrange myself, fully clothed–
a brooch at my throat, my white hat angled
just so–or not, the smooth map of my flesh
awash in afternoon light. In my room
everything’s a prop for his composition–
brass spittoon in the corner, the silver
mirror, brush and comb of my toilette.
I try to pose as I think he would like–shy
at first, then bolder. I’m not so foolish
that I don’t know this photograph we make
will bear the stamp of his name, not mine.

–Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002)

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