An Anniversary Slant Rhyme


©Alex Webb, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, 1996; our wedding invitation photo

What’s the nontraditional gift for a 16th wedding anniversary? For Alex and me today, a slant rhyme of poem (mine) and photograph (his), which was on our handmade wedding invitations. I love all those “rhyming” curves and rings and embraces and heavenly bodies… “A gift this distance we’ve traveled so far…”

One night I see Saturn ––
between Ninth and Tenth Street ––
naked and luminous
through the glass.
You look, too: white orb,
the ring of your laughter.
Floating home, you pull me
into your chest. I’m light,
mercury vapor, almost yours,
until the mortal woman returns,
all curves and memory,
your arm ringing my waist.
A gift, this distance
we’ve traveled so far.

Alex’s story behind the making of the image above, which is part of Up Close & Personal Magnum Photo Square Print sale, thru Friday, Nov. 13, 6pm EST:

“In 1996 after returning from the US-Mexico border, I showed my new work to Rebecca Norris, who I’d been seeing for some six months. When we came to this photograph from Nuevo Laredo, Rebecca smiled bemusedly and said, ‘muy romantico.’ Looking again, I began to see that it does indeed strike a different note. Although inhabited by those deep shadows that characterize much of my border work, this particular photograph is quieter, more lyrical. It’s as if it’s human moments—the couple embracing, the father holding his child—somehow manage to keep the darkness at bay, at least briefly.

Photographers don’t just find photographs; sometimes photographs find photographers. In retrospect, it hardly seems surprising that this photograph found me when it did—as I was falling for the remarkable woman and lyrical photographer who’s the love of my life.

Three years later, we printed this photograph on our wedding invitations.”—Alex Webb

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