maybe it was her smile
maybe the way she rested
holding the tree steady
as if the world could breathe
when she relaxed

i suppose i will never know if she saw me
camera in hand, panning
as though following some imaginary deer
fleeing the shaded cool
as easily as i followed her
in her stillness

her lightness was measured in
some way i could never explain
lifted by her smile
as if my own burden escaped me
for a moment

laughter has never come easily for me
yet for a moment the effervesce
bubbling from within
seemed familiar
and i wanted it as my own

the conversant sound of my camera’s click
as i quickly gathered her
into my own piece of forever
told me she was as real
as the tree against which she rested

her smile became my own
and as i walked away
a young doe pounced from the bushes
but i had no need for a photo

i looked back at the tree



(photo of rita    carlsbad, CA   november 2018)