No light reflecting in those intense dark eyes. Windows to the soul, not on this face. Manhole covers down to deeper things. Between the furrowed brow where one might find introspection, I find knots of secrets the way bucks lock horns then die. He’d been a lover of men long ago. I know because he kept photo proofs stashed in shoeboxes under his saggy bed. The most dogeared photo was of silver-haired lovers entwined when they were past lovemaking and exhausted beyond repair. It wasn’t his figure in the careworn image. I once asked him who the two were. He told me it wasn’t for him to say, the couple in the photo were in love and love is a sacred thing one must hold dear. I asked if deer locked horns because they were in love. He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “No young one, when bucks lock antlers they are horny. Animals have fellowship. Humans have love. Love is a gift and it must be cherished.”
Around his apartment, black and white photos cling to their slice of wall space. Clouds stick to heaven the very same way. Each image perfectly soldiered into painted symmetrical wood. The sturdy black frames cannot diminish the powerful subject matter within. Love. Curving, languid nudes in soft light sometimes wrapped with white sheets like gossamer wings. Decades ago, my uncle was hired to shoot elegant boudoir stills for couples. Most of these amorous pairs commissioned him early into their young marriages. When their skin glowed beneath hot halogens and their figures flowed smooth like silk honeymoon lingerie. Each photo paper lover appeared sculpted in form and perfectly matched to their partner’s body. My uncle had an artful way with autonomy. Names were never known. Gazing at one of his large black and white images is akin to admiring a marble figure whose face is left trapped inside stone, much like Rodin often made the artistic choice to leave casting seams.
Uncle Milo has since lost his eight-five percent of his vision. His elegant wavy hair is silver-white. Those intense marble eyes now covered in a milky glaze. He’d call it dodging light in the dark room. Today, I ask him again who the two silver-haired lovers were. He responds in his whiskey voice, “Young one, they were the only partners who respected the sanctity of love beyond the beauty of their flesh. Their love was the most honest love I’ve ever witnessed in my small life. I’ve accumulated a great wealth, to have captured such treasure.”
sketched last year for a writing project-thank you