Photographer on Fifth

Poem by Meredith Bergmann

Precious now, the light at the solstice narrows,
picks us out with accurate fingers. Buildings
barely warm,  their indigo shadows icy.
Someone is fishing.

Forced between the skyscrapers, focused sunbeams
stun the southbound passersby. Squinting faces
press upon his camera, blind and open,
seeking a shutter.
 
Foreheads bleach, ignited above dark clothing:
every face a filament.  Lovers’ frozen
exhalations soften and blend the hues of
radiant tourists.
 
Level light reflects from a girl’s blue jacket,
tints a tall man’s packages’ silver wrappings.
Men eclipse her, partially: half her face is
cast into shadow.
 
Students, flung away from their teachers’ brilliance,
hurtle home to families, barely shopping.
Beggars briefly orbit the man who wields the
single-lens reflex.
 
Heat is bait. The heat of his eye, his joy, burns
holes to fish through. Taunted by light, he tries to
lure it from the avenue.  He can only
catch and release us.