Downpour pelts windows, rakes roof

like shards hurled in menace.

The torrent brakes slowly, as though coaxed to relent.

A respite that cradles seeds of relief that will soon

vanish, Scott thinks as he zooms in on a cardinal’s

cautious dip in a puddle beyond its sheltered nest.

Choice lies in the space between frames.

Focus to see it, or miss it & get carved by tides.

Worse yet, see it and stand struck, a piano key stuck

unhinged from resonance. Scott once found consonance

with Steph under a willow tree, a refuge from raindrops

that soaked their skin as sunlight dappled through

storm clouds. Creeping myrtle carpeted ground where

he went down on one knee, weather be damned.

He’d still make that choice after seeing

the frames that followed: currents that surged

and swept them in their wake. Adrift, he crops

the cardinal shot, softens shadows until

its color pops, stashes it amid thousands of

moments frozen in time, sketches on fogged glass

stiffened into stone. Steph murmurs, voice barely

a whimper since her last chemo. He

            lets go

            of his camera, its lens

powerless before a butterfly’s floundering flutter.

V.A. Bettencourt

A. Bettencourt writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Magma Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, and Willows Wept Review, among others.

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