For a moment it flashed
through me, I thought I
remembered being someone before now,
the her who was me
hurt, felt,
embedded like a whorl in wood.
The photograph is black and white,
but I know the dress was amber–
she bells out toward me,
her fingers resting against
a cage of satin,
she stands the way I do
already–is that it–
or have I never forgotten how
to stand like her?

If I could just take the fire with me
into the next room I might sleep
and stumble into the black hole
of that photographer’s studio,
back into the frame,
a wax doll, head and hands
emerging out of her costume,
like the infanta of Velasquez,
her future already in place,
maids-in-waiting, a dog, the dwarf,
everyone staring into a dream so dense
nothing ever escapes it.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ioanna Carlsen's poem Infanta

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