Vandana Khanna: After Developing

At first, simple—
me next to the Venus
with no arms, you

twisting my torso
for the photo so
I’m an imitation,

a crooked goddess.
Arms pinned behind
me like gnarled vines

grown thick by the side
of a country road,
my hands a clasp

of tangled root. We
wandered the city,
impersonating:

at the Rodin,
your chin heavy
upon fisted hand,

skin the bronze
before patina.
Strange comfort—

this reproduction,
driving us into
the rain-slick streets

at dusk. We had
the possibility
of becoming timeless—

but bones don’t
collapse so easily.
After developing,

what’s left but a replica,
imperfect, beautiful:
the finite dimensions

of film and body—
an artifact, an ache
knotting my back.



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