Monkeyshines – Michigan Quarterly Review


“Monkeyshines” is from MQR’s Summer 2022 Issue. You can purchase the issue here.

on a Victorian England Celluloid Strip and Photo at Art Palm Beach

The center of the room, lighted; the rest, dark;
lace on a table; a Tiffany-style lamp—the grim
man stands behind a seated woman with a slim,
white object in her lap; lower-right, a watermark
in the paper used for the print; beside, trademark
company logo—a Phoenix, with fire like a scrim
behind it—fitting, since this print is a postmortem
one from the celluloid. (The Wizard of Menlo Park’s
Monkeyshines was Edison’s first moving-picture film—
a man in white wildly waving his arms around him.)

If these seconds of celluloid were played in the dark,
you’d see the man touch her shoulder, her touch him,
knowing all you need to know about grief: the dead
infant in her lap is little longer than a loaf of bread.

For more from the Summer 2022 issue of MQR, you can purchase the issue here.

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