Protecting her young of some fading species,
a mother at the beach leaves the corpses of biting flies
scattered on a deck beneath her.

Unwittingly I wish for the ghost of Matthew Brady,
the ghost and the ghost’s chimerical camera,
the worthy who might render annihilation

in the iron bas-relief photogravure
and proto-gravitas,

of blackened corpses swept off
the deck, sinking
Styxward into the obsidian depths.

The dead remain remembered only
in the media-driven catafalque below headlines,
the legacy of passing insult.

The species turns almost human, the mother,
the young, the flies. But first and finally
we all tumble and corrode into the cold magic

of forsaken time-lorn glass plates.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.