/ Word and Image

The photograph

He scuttles a yard or so from where she walks,
rapid as a cockroach or a crab,
his left arm, as if in capture, curved
tightly round against his back,
his right arm thrown behind him
continuous with his stick.
His body is bent double, in opposition
to the street he only half perceives
with darting eyes she doesn’t see
on the wizened face
that is a hidden puppet-mask.

She stalks him closely, furtively,
almost brushing his heels
like Crookback’s shadow –
as if by getting nearer
for a clearer view
she could throw off the way
his hunched form startles her,
coming out of nowhere
like a question mark.


The photograph
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