These Almost Lost Pieces, Nan Ring [2023:41]



fell on

ice, the story

goes, and was taken to

a nursing home in Illinois where she died,

leaving behind thousands of undeveloped photographs she took when no one, not even

the children she was hired to nanny, were noticing, and I imagine her coffin as white
as a small box I

found at the back of a drawer, forever open at the top from which she glows
like the silver gelatin shine of her photographic paper in the enlarger’s light, luminescent, the color of childhood

snow, peace lilies, whitecaps, her body washed in waves of developing fluids to a lucid stasis
and she might have been forgotten completely, though I wasn’t the one to find her photos at the

estate sale, I can imagine
cardboard boxes, arms lugging, and like alchemy in my mind see them revealed
wrapped in

a sacred shroud, something like handmade sea glass blue and butter yellow crocheting

scraps I have no use of and forget

where they came from, still,

jewels they were,

the photos,



lost pieces

glinting with a

life’s small miracles, like forgotten

necklace strands, the clasps long-ago broken, nowhere for

the cold, still fingers to grasp anymore to join the whole together again,

only transparent strips of negatives remaining, like gems glinting with pinpoints of light where if I could look so closely, I

might find just beyond the picture frame, glimpses of her camera body, lens to eye, brain to film and hints of Vivian herself, quickly passing by and by,
by and by
inside each one.

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